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The Magic Mountain 




Thomas. Mann 


THE 


H 

H 

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H 


t MAGIC MOUNTAIN t 


With a postscript by the author on 
The Making of the novel 


Translated from the German by 

H. T. LOWE-PORTER 


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SECKER & WARBURG LONDON t 


ORIGINALLY ISSUED AS 


SDerSauberberg 

COPYRIGHT, 1924, BY S. FISCHER VERLAG 
BERLIN 


First published in England (2 vols) 1928 
Second Edition (1 vol) 1945 
Third Edition 1961 
Reprinted 1965, 1971 
436 27237 7 


The author's note on u The Making of The Magic Mountain” 
first appeared m the Atlantic, January 1953 


Printed in England by 
A. Wheaton & Co., Exeter 


CCLiPUTEkISED 



TRANSLATOR’S NOTE 


The translator wishes to thank, in this place, a number of scholars, 
authorities in the various special fields entered by The Magic 
Mountain , without whose help the version in all humility here 
offered to English readers, lame as it is, must have been more lack- 
ing still That they gave so generously is not to be interpreted 
otherw ise than as a tribute to a work of genius. But with all their 
help, the great difficulty remained: the violet had to be cast into 
the crucible, the organic w ork of art to be remoulded in another 
tongue. Shelley’s figure is perhaps not entirely apt here. Yet, since 
in the creative act word and thought are indivisible, the task was 
seen to be one before which artists would shrink and logical minds 
recoil. 

But of the author of The Magic Mountain it can be said in a 
special sense that he has looked into the seeds of Time. It was in- 
dispensable that we should read his book; intolerable that English 
readers should be barred from a work whose spirit, whatever its 
vehicle, is universal. It seemed better that an English version should 
be done ill than not done at all. 


H. T. L.-P. 




Foreword 


The story of Hans Castorp, which we would here set forth, not 
on his own account, for in him the reader wili make acquaintance 
with a simple-minded though pleasing young man, but for the 
sake of the story itself, which seems to us highly worth telling — 
though it must needs be borne in mind, in Hans Castorp’s behalf, 
that it is his story, and not every story happens to everybody — 
this story, we say, belongs to the long ago; is already, so to speak, 
covered with historic mould, and unquestionably to be presented 
in the tense best suited to a narrative out of the depth of the past. 

That should be no drawback to a story, but rather the reverse. 
Since histories must be in the past, then the more past the better, 
it would seem, for them in their character as histories, and for him, 
the teller of them, rounding wizard of times gone by. With 
this story, moreover, it stands as it does to-day with human beings, 
not least among them writers of tales: it is far older than its years; 
its age may not be measured by length of days, nor the weight of 
time on its head reckoned by the rising or setting of suns. In a 
word, the degree of its antiquity has noways to do with the pas- 
sage of time — in which statement the author intentionally touches 
upon the strange and questionable double nature of that riddling 
element. 

But we would not wilfully obscure a plain matter. The exag- 
gerated pastness of our narrative is due to its taking place before 
the epoch when a certain crisis shattered its way through life and 
consciousness and left a deep chasm behind. It takes place — or, 
rather, deliberately to avoid the present tense, it took place, and 
had taken place - in the long ago, in the old days, the days of the 
world before the Great War, in the beginning of which so much 
began that has scarcely yet left off beginning. Yes, it took place 
before that; yet not so long before. Is not the pastness of the past 
the profounder, the completer, the more legendary, the more im- 
mediately before the present it falls 5 More than that, our story 
has, of its own nature, something of the legend about it now and 
again. 



VI 


FOREWORD 


We shall tell it at length, thoroughly, in detail — for when did 
a narrative seem too long or too short by reason of the actual time 
or space it took up? We do not fear being called meticulous, in- 
clining as we do to the view that only the exhaustive can be truly 
interesting. 

Not all in a minute, then, will the narrator be finished with the 
story of our Hans. The seven days of a week will not suffice, no, 
nor seven months either. Best not too soon make too plain how 
much mortal time must pass over his head while he sits spun round 
in his spell. Heaven forbid it should be seven years! 

And now we begin. 



CONTENTS 


CHAPTER I 

ARRIVAL 3 

NUMBER 34 10 

IN THE RESTAURANT 13 

CHAPTER II 

OF THE CHRISTENING BASIN, AND OF GRANDFATHER IN HIS TWO- 
FOLD GUISE 19 

AT TIENAPPELS 1 , AND OF YOUNG HANS’S MORAL STATE 28 

CHAPTER III 

DRAWING THE VETL 38 

BREAKFAST 40 

BANTER. VIATICUM. INTERRUPTED MIRTH 47 

SATANA 56 

MENTAL GYMNASTIC 65 

A WORD TOO MUCH 70 

OF COURSE, A female! 74 

HERR ALBIN 78 

SATANA MAKES PROPOSALS THAT TOUCH OUR HONOUR 8 1 



yiii CONTENTS 

CHAPTER IV 

NECESSARY PURCHASES 93 

EXCURSUS ON THE SENSE OF TIME 102 

HE PRACTISES HIS FRENCH IO5 

POLITICALLY SUSPECT I IO 

HIPPE I I 5 

ANALYSIS I24 

DOUBTS AND CONSIDERATIONS I 3 I 

TABLE-TALK 1 34 

MOUNTING MISGIVINGS. OF THE TWO GRANDFATHERS, AND THE 

BOAT-RIDE IN THE TWILIGHT 141 

THE THERMOMETER l6l 

CHAPTER V 

SOUP-EVERLASTING 1 8 3 

SUDDEN ENLIGHTENMENT 203 

FREEDOM 2 1 9 

WHIMS OF MERCURIUS 225 

ENCYCLOPAEDIC 236 

HUMANIORA 25 1 

RESEARCH 267 

THE DANCE OF DEATH 286 

WALPURGIS-NIGHT 322 

CHAPTER VI 

CHANGES 344 

367 


A NEW-COMER 


CONTENTS 


IX 


OF THE CITY OF GOD, AND DELIVERANCE BY EVIL 386 

CHOLER. AND WORSE 413 

AN ATTACK, AND A REPULSE 425 

OPERATIONES SPIRITUALES 440 

SNOW 469 

A SOLDIER, AND BRAVE 498 

CHAPTER VII 

BY THE OCEAN OF TIME 54 1 

MYNHEER PEEPERKORN 548 

VINGT ET UN 556 

mynheer peeperkorn ( Continued, ) 574 

MYNHEER PEEPERKORN ( Cojiclusion ) 612 

THE GREAT GOD DUMPS 624 

FULLNESS OF HARMONY 635 

HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE 653 

HYSTERICA PASSIO 68 1 

THE THUNDERBOLT 70 6 

the making of The Magic Mountain 719 




CHAPTER I 


Arrival 

An unassuming young man was travelling, in midsummer, from 
his native city of Hamburg to Davos-Platz in the Canton of the 
Grisons, on a three weeks’ visit. 

From Hamburg to Davos is a long journey — too long, indeed, 
for so brief a stay. It crosses all sorts of country; goes up hill and 
down dale, descends from the plateau of Southern Germany to the 
shore of Lake Constance, over its bounding waves and on across 
marshes once thought to be bottomless. 

At this point the route, which has been so far over trunk-lines, 
gets cut up. There are stops and formalities. At Rorschach, in 
Swiss territory, you take train again, but only as far as Landquart, 
a small Alpine station, where you have to change. Here, after a 
long and windy wait in a spot devoid of charm, you mount a nar- 
row-gauge train; and as the small but very powerful engine gets 
under way, there begins the thrilling part of the journey, a steep 
and steady climb that seems never to come to an end. For the sta- 
tion of Landquart lies at a relatively low altitude, but now the wild 
and rocky route pushes grimly onward into the Alps themselves. 

Hans Castorp — such was the young man’s name — sat alone in 
his little grey-upholstered compartment, with his alligator-skin 
hand-bag, a present from his uncle and guardian, Consul Tienappel 
— let us get the introductions over with at once — his travelling- 
rug, and his winter overcoat swinging on its hook. The window 
was down, the afternoon grew cool, and he, a tender product of 
the sheltered life, had turned up the collar of his fashionably cut, 
silk-lined summer overcoat. Near him on the seat lay a paper- 
bound volume entitled Ocean Steamships; earlier in the journey 
he had studied it off and on, but now it lay neglected, and the 
breath of the panting engine, streaming in, defiled its cover with 
particles of soot. 

Two days’ travel separated the youth — he was still too young 
to have thrust his roots down firmly into life — from his own 



THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


4 

world, from all that he thought of as his own duties, interests, cares 
and prospects; far more than he had dreamed it would when he 
sat in the carriage on the way to the station. Space, rolling and re- 
volving between him and his native heath, possessed and wielded 
the powers we generally ascribe to time. From hour to hour it 
worked changes in him, like to those wrought by time, yet in a 
way even more striking. Space, like time, engenders forgetfulness; 
but it does so by setting us bodily free from our surroundings and 
giving us back our primitive, unattached state. Yes, it can even, in 
the twinkling of an eye, make something like a vagabond of the 
pedant and Philistine. Time, we say, is Lethe; but change of air is 
a similar draught, and, if it works less thoroughly, does so more 
quickly. 

Such was the experience of young Hans Castorp. He had not 
meant to take the journey seriously or commit himself deeply to 
it; but to get it over quickly, since it had to be made, to return as 
he had gone, and to take up his life at the point where, for the mo- 
ment, he had had to lay it down. Only yesterday he had been en- 
compassed in the wonted circle of his thoughts, and entirely taken 
up by two matters: the examination he had just passed, and his 
approaching entrance into the firm of Tunder and Wilms, ship- 
builders, smelters, and machinists. With as much impatience as lay 
in his temperament to feel, he had discounted the next three weeks; 
but now it began to seem as though present circumstances required 
his entire attention, that it would not be at all the thing to take 
them too lightly. 

This being carried upward into regions where he had never be- 
fore drawn breath, and where he knew that unusual living condi- 
tions prevailed, such as could only be described as sparse or scanty 
— it began to work upon him, to fill him with a certain concern. 
Home and regular living lay not only far behind, they lay fathoms 
deep beneath him, and he continued to mount above them. Poised 
between them and the unknown, he asked himself how he was 
going to fare. Perhaps it had been ill-advised of him, born as he was 
a few feet above sea-level, to come immediately to these great 
heights, without stopping at least a day or so at some point in be- 
tween. He wished he were at the end of his journey; for once there 
he could begin to live as he would anywhere else, and not be re- 
minded by this continual climbing of the incongruous situation he 
found himself in. He looked out. The train wound in curves along 
the narrow pass; he could see the front carriages and the labouring 
engine vomiting great masses of brown, black, and greenish smoke, 
that floated away. Water roared in the abysses on the right; on the 



ARRIVAL 


5 


left, among rocks, dark fir-trees aspired toward a stone-grey sky. 
The train passed through pitch-black tunnels, and when daylight 
came again it showed wide chasms, with villages nestled in their 
depths. Then the pass closed in again; they wound along narrow 
defiles, with traces of snow in chinks and crannies. There were 


halts at wretched little shanties of stations; also at more important 
ones, which the train left in the opposite direction, making one 
lose the points of the compass. A magnificent succession of vistas 
opened before the awed eye, of the solemn, phantasmagorical 
world of towering peaks, into which their route wove and wormed 
itself: vistas that appeared and disappeared with each new winding 
of the path. Hans Castorp reflected that they must have got above 
the zone of shade-trees, also probably of song-birds; whereupon 
he felt such a sense of the impoverishment of life as gave him a 
slight attack of giddiness and nausea and made him put his hand 
over his eyes for a few seconds. It passed. He perceived that they 
had stopped climbing. The top of the col was reached; the train 
rolled smoothly along the level valley floor. 

It was about eight o’clock, and still daylight. A lake was visible 
in the distant landscape, its waters grey, its shores covered with 
black fir-forests that climbed the surrounding heights, thinned out, 
and gave place to bare, mist-wreathed rock. They stopped at a 
small station. Hans Castorp heard the name called out: it was 
“ Davos-Dorf.” Soon he would be at his journey’s end. And sud- 
denly, close to him, he heard a voice, the comfortable Hamburg 
voice of his cousin, Joachim Ziemssen, saying: “ Hullo, there you 
are! Here’s where you get out! ” and peering through the window 
saw his cousin himself, standing below on the platform, in a brown 
ulster, bare-headed, and looking more robust than ever in his life 
before. He laughed and said again: “ Come along out, it’s all 


right! ” 


“ But I’m not there yet! ” said Hans Castorp, taken aback, and 


still seated. 


“ Oh, yes, you are. This is the village. It is nearer to the sana- 
torium from here. I have a carriage. Just give us your things.” 

And laughing, confused, in the excitement of arrival and meet- 
ing, Hans Castorp reached bag, overcoat, the roll with stick and 
umbrella, and finally Ocean Steamships out of the window. Then 
he ran down the narrow corridor and sprang out upon the plat- 
form to greet his cousin properly. The meeting took place with- 
out exuberance, as between people of traditional coolness and re- 
serve. Strange to say, the cousins had always avoided calling each 
other by their first names, simply because they were afraid of 



THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


6 

showing too much feeling. And, as they could not well address 
each other by their last names, they confined themselves, by estab- 
lished custom, to the thou. 

A man in livery with a braided cap looked on while they shook 
hands, quickly, not without embarrassment, young Ziemssen in 
military position, heels together. Then he came forward to ask for 
Hans Castorp’s luggage ticket; he was the concierge of the Inter- 
national Sanatorium Berghof, and would fetch the guest’s large 
trunk from the other station while the gentlemen drove directly 
up to supper. This man limped noticeably; and so, curiously 
enough, the first thing Hans Castorp said to his cousin was: “ Is 
that a war veteran? What makes him limp like that? ” 

“ War veteran! No fear! ” said Joachim, with some bitterness. 
“ He’s got it in his knee — or, rather, he had it — the knee-pan has 
been removed.” 

Hans Castorp bethought himself hastily. 

“ So that's iU ” he said, and as he walked on turned his head and 
gave a quick glance back. “ But you can’t make me believe you’ve 
still got anything like that the matter with you! Why, you look as 
if you had just come from manoeuvres! ” And he looked sidelong 
at his cousin. 

Joachim was taller and broader than he, a picture of youthful 
vigour, and made for a uniform. He was of the very dark type 
which his blond-peopled country not seldom produces, and his 
already nut-brown skin was tanned almost to bronze. With his 
large, black eyes and small, dark moustache over the full, well- 
shaped mouth, he would have been distinctly handsome if his ears 
had not stood out. Up to a certain period they had been his only 
trouble in life. Now, however, he had others. 

Hans Castorp went on: “You’re coming back down with me, 
aren’t you? I see no reason why not.” 

“ Back down with you? ” asked his cousin, and turned his large 
eyes full upon him. They had always been gentle, but in these five 
months they had taken on a tired, almost sad expression. 
“ When? ” 

“ Why, in three weeks.” 

“ Oh, yes, you are already on the way back home, in your 
thoughts,” answered Joachim. “ Wait a bit. You’ve only just come. 
Three weeks are nothing at all, to us up here — they look like a lot 
of time to you, because you are only up here on a visit, and three 
weeks is all you have. Get acclimatized first — it isn’t so easy, 
you’ll see. And the climate isn’t the only queer thing about us. 
You’re going to see some things you’ve never dreamed of — just 


ARRIVAL 


7 

wait. About me — it isn’t such smooth sailing as you think, you 
with your 4 going home in three weeks.’ That’s the class of ideas 
you have down below. Yes, I am brown, I know, but it is mostly 
snow-buming. It doesn’t mean much, as Behrens always says; he 
told me at the last regular examination it would take another half 
year, pretty certainly.” 

“ Half a year? Are you crazy? ” shouted Hans Castorp. They 
had climbed into the yellow cabriolet that stood in the stone-paved 
square in front of the shed-like station, and as the pair of brown 
horses started up, he flounced indignantly on the hard cushions. 
“ Half a year! You’ve been up here half a year already! Who’s got 
so much time to spend ” 

“ Oh, time — ! ” said Joachim, and nodded repeatedly, straight 
in front of him, paying his cousin’s honest indignation no heed. 
44 They make pretty free with a human being’s idea of time, up 
here. You wouldn’t believe it. Three weeks are just like a day to 
them. You’ll learn all about it,” he said, and added: “ One’s ideas 
get changed.” 

Hans Castorp regarded him earnestly as they drove. “ But seems 
to me you’ve made a splendid recovery,” he said, shaking his head. 

“ You really think so, don’t you 5 ” answered Joachim; “ I think 
I have too.” He drew himself up straighter against the cushions, 
but immediately relaxed again. Yes, 1 am better,” he explained, 
“ but I am not cured vet. In the left lobe, where there were rales, 
it only sounds harsh now, and that is not so bad; but lower down 
it is still very harsh, and there are rhonchi in the second intercostal 
space.” 

44 How learned you’ve got,” said Hans Castorp. 

“ Fine sort of learning! God knows I wish I’d had it sweated out 
of my system in the service,” responded Joachim. 4v But I still have 
sputum,” he said, with a shoulder-shrug that was somehow indif- 
ferent and vehement both at once, and became him but ill. He half 
pulled out and showed to his cousin something he carried in the 
side pocket of his overcoat, next to Hans Castorp. It was a flat, 
curving bottle of bluish glass, with a metal cap. 

44 Most of us up here carry it,” he said, shoving it back. 44 It even 
has a nickname; they make quite a joke of it. You are looking at 
the landscape? ” 

Hans Castorp was. 44 Magnificent! ” he said. 

44 Think so? ” asked Joachim. 

They had driven for a space straight up the axis of the valley, 
along an irregularly built street that followed the line of the rail- 
way; then, turning to the left, they crossed the narrow tracks and 



8 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


a watercourse, and now trotted up a high-road that mounted 
gently toward the wooded slopes. Before them rose a low, pro- 
jecting, meadow-like plateau, on which, facing south-west, stood 
a long building, with a cupola and so many balconies that from a 
distance it looked porous, like a sponge. In this building lights were 
beginning to show. It was rapidly growing dusk. The faint rose- 
colour that had briefly enlivened the overcast heavens was faded 
now, and there reigned the colourless, soulless, melancholy transi- 
tion-period that comes just before the onset of night. The popu- 
lous valley, extended and rather winding, now began to show 
lights everywhere, not only in the middle, but here and there on 
the slopes at either hand, particularly on the projecting right side, 
upon which buildings mounted in terrace formation. Paths ran up 
the sloping meadows to the left and lost themselves in the vague 
blackness of the pine forest. Behind them, where the valley nar- 
rowed to its entrance, the more distant ranges showed a cold, slaty 
blue. A wind had sprung up, and made perceptible the chill of 
evening. 

“ No, to speak frankly, I don’t find it so overpowering,” said 
Hans Castorp. “ Where are the glaciers, and the snow peaks, and 
the gigantic heights you hear about? These things aren’t very high, 
it seems to me.” 

“ Oh, yes, they are,” answered Joachim. “ You can see the tree 
line almost everywhere, it is very sharply defined; the fir-trees leave 
off, and after that there is absolutely nothing but bare rock. And 
up there to the right of the Schwarzhorn, that tooth-shaped peak, 
there is a glacier — can’t you see the blue? It is not very large, but 
it is a glacier right enough, the Skaletta. Piz Michel and Tinzen- 
horn, in the notch — you can’t see them from here — have snow all 
the year round.” 

“ Eternal snow,” said Hans Castorp. 

“ Eternal snow, if you like. Yes, that’s all very high. But we are 
frightfully high ourselves: sixteen hundred metres above sea-level. 
That’s why the peaks don’t seem any higher.” 

“Yes, what a climb that was! I was scared to death, I can tell 
you. Sixteen hundred metres — that is over five thousand feet, as 
I reckon it. I’ve never been so high up in my life.” And Hans Ca- 
storp took in a deep, experimental breath of the strange air. It was 
fresh, and that was all. It had no perfume, no content, no humidity; 
it breathed in easily, and held for him no associations. 

“Wonderful air,” he remarked, politely. 

“ Yes, the atmosphere is famous. But the place doesn’t look its 
best to-night. Sometimes it makes a much better impression — es- 



ARRIVAL 


9 

pecially when there is snow. But you can get sick of looking at it. 
All of us up here are frightfully fed up, you can imagine,” said 
Joachim, and twisted his mouth into an expression of disgust that 
was as unlike him as the shoulder-shrug. Jt looked irritable, dis- 
proportionate. 

“ You have such a queer way of talking,” said Hans Castorp. 

“ Have I? ” said Joachim, concerned, and turned to look at his 
cousin. 

“ Oh, no, of course I don’t mean you really have — I suppose it 
just seemed so to me for the moment,” Hans Castorp hastened to 
assure him. It was the expression “ all of us up here,” which Joa- 
chim had used several times, that had somehow struck him as 
strange and given him an uneasy feeling. 

“ Our sanatorium is higher up than the village, as you see,” went 
on Joachim. “ Fifty metres higher. In the prospectus it says a hun- 
dred, but it is really only fifty. The highest of the sanatoriums is 
the Schatzalp — you can’t see it from here. They have to bring 
their bodies down on bob-sleds in the winter, because the roads 
are blocked.” 

“Their bodies? Oh, I see. Imagine! ” said Hans Castorp. And 
suddenly he burst out laughing, a violent, irrepressible laugh, 
which shook him all over and distorted his face, that was stiff with 
the cold wind, until it almost hurt. “ On bob-sleds! And you can 
tell it me just like that, in cold blood! You’ve certainly got pretty 
cynical in these five months.” 

“ Not at all,” answered Joachim, shrugging again. “ Why not? 
It’s all the same to them, isn’t it? But maybe we do get cynical up 
here. Behrens is a cynic himself — but he’s a great old bird after 
all, an old corps-student. He is a brilliant operator, they say. You 
will like him. Krokowski is the assistant — devilishly clever article. 
They mention his activities specially, in the prospectus. He psy- 
cho-analyses the patients.” 

“ He what? Psycho-analyses — how disgusting! ” cried Hans 
Castorp; and now his hilarity altogether got the better of him. He 
could not stop. The psycho-analysis had been the finishing touch. 
He laughed so hard that the tears ran down his cheeks; he put up 
his hands to his face and rocked with laughter. Joachim laughed 
just as heartily — it seemed to do him good; and thus, in great good 
spirits, the young people climbed out of the wagon, which had 
slowly mounted the steep, winding drive and deposited them be- 
fore the portal of the International Sanatorium Berghof. 



IO 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


Number 34 

On their right as they entered, between the main door and the 
inner one, was the porter’s lodge. An official of the French type, 
in the grey livery of the man at the station, was sitting at the tele- 
phone, reading the newspaper. He came out and led them through 
the well-lighted halls, on the left of which lay the reception-rooms. 
Hans Castorp peered in as he passed, but they were empty. Where, 
then, were the guests, he asked, and his cousin answered: “ In the 
rest-cure. I had leave to-night to go out and meet you. Otherwise 
I am always up in my balcony, after supper.” 

Hans Castorp came near bursting out again. “ What! You lie out 
on your balcony at night, in the damp? ” he asked, his voice shak- 
ing. 

“ Yes, that is the rule. From eight to ten. But come and see your 
room now, and get a wash.” 

They entered the lift — it was an electric one, worked by the 
Frenchman. As they went up, Hans Castorp wiped his eyes. 

“ I’m perfectly worn out with laughing,” he said, and breathed 
through his mouth. “ You’ve told me such a lot of crazy stuff — 
that about the psycho-analysis was the last straw. I suppose I am 
a bit relaxed from the journey. And my feet are cold — are yours? 
But my face burns so, it is really unpleasant. Do we eat now? I 
feel hungry. Is the food decent up here? ” 

They went noiselessly along tne coco matting of the narrow 
corridor, which was lighted by electric lights in white glass shades 
set in the ceiling. The walls gleamed with hard white enamel paint. 
They had a glimpse of a nursing sister in a white cap, and eye- 
glasses on a cord that ran behind her ear. She had the look of 
a Protestant sister — that is to say, one working without a real vo- 
cation and burdened with restlessness and ennui. As they went 
along the corridor, Hans Castorp saw, beside two of the white- 
enamelled, numbered doors, certain curious, swollen-looking, bal- 
loon-shaped vessels with short necks. He did not think, at the 
moment, to ask what they were. 

“ Here you are,” said Joachim. “ I am next you on the right. The 
other side you have a Russian couple, rather loud and offensive, 
but it couldn’t be helped. Well, how do you like it? ” 

There were two doors, an outer and an inner, with clothes- 
hooks in the space between. Joachim had turned on the ceiling 
light, and in its vibrating brilliance the room looked restful and 
cheery, with practical white furniture, white washable walls, clean 


II 


NUMBER 34 

linoleum, and white linen curtains gailv embroidered in modem 
taste. The door stood open, one saw the lights of the valley and 
heard distant dance-music. The good Joachim had put a vase of 
flowers on the chest of drawers — a few bluebells and some yarrow, 
which he had found himself among the second crop of grass on 
the slopes. 

“ Awfully decent of you,” said Hans Castorp. “ What a nice 
room! I can spend a couple of weeks here with pleasure.” 

“ An American woman died here day before yesterday,” said 
Joachim. “ Behrens told me directly that she v ould be out before 
you came, and you might have the room. Her fiance was with her, 
an English officer of marines, but he didn’t behave very well. He 
kept coming out in the corridor to cry, just like a little boy. He 
rubbed cold cream on his cheeks, because he was close-shaven and 
the tears smarted. Night before last she had two first-class haemor- 
rhages, and that was the finish. But she has been gone since yester- 
day morning, and after they took her away of course they fumi- 
gated the room thoroughly with formalin, which is the proper 
thing to use in such cases.” 

Hans Castorp took in this information with a sprightly, yet half- 
distraught air. He was standing with his sleeves pushed back be- 
fore the roomy wash-hand-basin, the taps of which shone in the 
electric light, and gave hardly a glance at the white metal bed with 
its fresh coverlet. 

“Fumigated it, eh D That's ripping,” he said loquaciously and 
rather absurdly, as he washed and dried his hands. “ Methyl 
aldehyde; yes, that’s too much for the bacteria, no matter how 
strong they are. H 2 CO. But it’s a powerful stench. Of course, per- 
fect sanitation is absolutely essential ” He spoke with more of a 
Hamburg accent than his cousin, who had broken himself of it 
since his student davs. Hans Castorp continued volubly. “ But 
what I was about to say was, probably the officer of marines used 
a safety-razor; one makes oneself sore with those things easier than 
with a well-sharpened blade — at least, that is my experience, and 
I use them both by turns. Well, and salt water would naturally 
make a tender skin smart, so he got in the way, in the service, of 
rubbing in cold cream. I don’t see anything strange about that 
. . .” He rattled on: said that he had two hundred Maria Man- 
cinis (his cigar) in his trunk, the customs officers had been very 
courteous; and gave his cousin greetings from various people at 
home. “ Don’t they heat the rooms here ? ” he broke off to inquire, 
and ran to put his hands on the radiator. 



12 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


“ No, they keep us pretty cool,” answered Joachim. “ The 
weather would have to be different from this before they put on 
the heat in August.” 

“ August, August! ” said Hans Castorp. “ But I am cold, abom- 
inably cold; I mean in my body, for my face burns shockingly — 
just feel it! ” 

This demand was entirely foreign to the young man’s nature — 
so much so that he himself was disagreeably impressed as he heard 
himself make it. Joachim did not take up the offer, but merely said: 
“ That is the air — it doesn’t mean anything; Behrens himself is 
purple in the face all day long. Some people never get used to it. 
Come along now, do, or we shan’t get anything to eat.” 

Outside they saw the nursing sister again, peering short-sight- 
edly and inquisitively after them. But in the first storey Hans 
Castorp suddenly stopped, rooted to the spot by a perfectly 
ghastly sound coming from a little distance off round a bend in 
the corridor. It was not a loud sound, but so distinctly horrible 
that Hans Castorp made a wry face and looked wide-eyed at his 
cousin. It was coughing, obviously, a man coughing; but cough- 
ing like to no other Hans Castorp had ever heard, and compared 
with which any other had been a magnificent and healthy mani- 
festation of life: a coughing that had no conviction and gave no 
relief, that did not even come out in paroxysms, but was just a 
feeble, dreadful welling up of the juices of organic dissolution. 

“ Yes,” said Joachim. “ That’s a bad case. An Austrian aristo- 
crat, you know, very elegant. He’s a born horseman — a gentle- 
man rider. And now he’s come to this. But he still gets about.” 

As they went, Hans Castorp discoursed earnestly upon the 
gentleman rider’s cough. 

“You must realize,” he said, “that I’ve never heard anything 
like it before. It is entirely new to me, and naturally it makes a 
great impression. There are different kinds of cough, dry and 
loose, and people always say the loose one is better than the other, 
the barking kind. When I had croup, in my youth ” (he actually 
said “ in my youth ”!), “ I bayed like a wolf, and I can still re- 
member how glad everybody was when it got looser. But a cough 
like this — I didn’t know there was such a cough! It isn’t a human 
cough at all. It isn’t dry and yet isn’t loose either — that is very far 
from being the right word for it. It is just as if one could look right 
into him when he coughs, and see what it looks like: all slime and 
mucous ” 

“ Oh,” said Joachim, “ I hear it every day, you don’t need to 
describe it to me.” 



IN THE RESTAURANT 


13 

But Hans Castorp could not get over the coughing he had heard. 
He kept repeating that he could see right into the gentleman rider's 
vitals; when they reached the restaurant his travel-weary eyes had 
an excited glitter. 

In the Restaurant 

It was charming in the restaurant, elegantly appointed and well 
lighted. The room lay to the right of the hall, opposite the salons, 
and was, Joachim explained, used chiefly by new arrivals, and by 
guests eating out of the usual meal hours or entertaining company. 
But it also served for birthday feasts, farewell parties, even to cele- 
brate a favourable report after a general examination. There were 
lively times here in the restaurant on occasion, Joachim said, and 
champagne flowed freely. Now, no one was here but a solitary 
lady of some thirty years, reading a book and humming; she kept 
tapping the table-cloth lightly with the middle finger of her left 
hand. After the young people had taken their places, she changed 
hers, in order to sit with her back to them. Joachim explained in a 
low voice that she suffered from shyness as from a disease, and ate 
all her meals in the restaurant, with a book. It was said that she had 
entered her first tuberculosis sanatorium as a young girl, and had 
never lived in the world since. 

“ So compared with her, you are only a novice, with your five 
months; and still will be when you have a year on your back,” said 
Hans Castorp to his cousin; whereat Joachim, with his newly ac- 
quired shoulder-shrug, took up the menu. 

They had sat down at the raised table in the window, the pleas- 
antest spot in the room, facing each other against the cream-col- 
oured hangings, their faces lighted by the red-shaded table-lamp. 
Hans Castorp clasped his freshly washed hands and rubbed them 
together in agreeable anticipation — a habit of his when he sat 
down to table, perhaps because his ancestors had said grace before 
meat. They were served by a friendly maid in black frock and 
white apron. She had a pleasant, throaty voice, and her broad face 
was indisputably healthy-coloured. To his great amusement, Hans 
Castorp learned that the waitresses here were called “ dining-room 
girls.” They ordered a bottle of Gruaud Larose, and Hans Castorp 
sent it back to have it warmed. The food was excellent: asparagus 
soup, stuffed tomatoes, a roast with vegetables, an exceedingly 
well-prepared sweet, cheese, and fruit. Hans Castorp ate heartily, 
though his appetite did not turn out quite so stout as he had 
thought. But he always ate a good deal, out of pure self-respect, 
even when he was not hungry. 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


Joachim paid scant honour to the meal. He was tired of the 
cooking, he said; they all were, up here, and it was customary to 
grumble at the food. If one had to sit up here for ever and a 

day ! But, on the other hand, he partook of the wine with 

gusto, not to say abandon; and repeatedly, though with careful 
avoidance of emotional language, expressed his joy at having some- 
body here with whom one could have a little rational conversa- 
tion. 

“ Yes, it’s first-rate you’ve come,” he said, and his gentle voice 
betrayed some feeling. “ I must say it is really an event for me — it 
is certainly a change, anyhow, a break in the everlasting monot- 
ony.” 

“ But time must go fast, living up here,” was Hans Castorp’s 
view. 

“ Fast and slow, as you take it,” answered Joachim. “ It doesn’t 
go at all, I tell you. You can’t call it time — and you can’t call it 
living either! ” he said with a shake of the head, and fell to his glass 
again. 

Hans Castorp drank too, though his face was like fire. Yet he 
was still cold, and felt a curious restlessness in his limbs, at once 
pleasurable and troubling. His words fell over each other, he often 
mis-spoke and passed it over with a deprecating wave. Joachim 
too was in a lively humour, and their conversation continued in a 
still freer and more convivial vein after the humming, tapping lady 
had got up suddenly and left the room. They gesticulated with 
their forks as they ate, nodded, shrugged their shoulders, talked 
with their mouths full. Joachim wanted to hear about Hamburg, 
and brought the conversation round to the proposed regulation of 
the Elbe. 

“ Epoch-making,” said Hans Castorp. “ Epoch-making for the 
development of our shipping. Can’t be over-estimated. We’ve 
budgeted fifty millions for immediate expenditure and you may be 
sure we know what we’re about.” 

But notwithstanding all the importance he attached to the pro- 
jected improvement, he jumped away from the theme and de- 
manded that Joachim tell him more about life “ up here ” and 
about the guests — which the latter straightway dia, being only 
too pleased to be able to unbosom himself. He had to repeat the 
story of the corpses sent down by bob-sleigh, and vouch for its 
truth. Hans Castorp being taken by another fit of laughing, his 
cousin laughed too, with hearty enjoyment, and told other funny 
things to add fuel to their merriment. There was a lady sitting at 
his table, named Frau Stohr, the wife of a Cannstadt musician; a 


IN THE RESTAURANT 


15 

rather serious case, she was, and the most ignorant creature he had 
ever seen. She said diseased for deceased, quite seriously, and she 
called Krokowski the Asst. And you had to take it all in without 
cracking a smile. She was a regular gossip — most people were, up 
here — and published it broadcast that another lady, a certain Frau 
litis, carried a “ steriletto ” on her person. “ That is exactly what 
she called it, isn’t that priceless? ” They lolled in their chairs, they 
flung themselves back and laughed so hard that they shook; and 
they began to hiccup at nearly the same time. 

Now and then Joachim’s face would cloud over and he would 
remember his lot. 

“ Yes, we sit here and laugh,” he said, with a long face, his words 
interrupted by the heaving of his diaphragm, “ we sit here and 
laugh, but there’s no telling when I shall get away. When Behrens 
says half a year, you can make up your mind it will be more. It is 
hard, isn’t it? — you just tell me if you don’t think it is pretty hard 
on me. I had already been accepted, I could have taken my exams 
next month. And now I have to drool about with a thermometer 
stuck in my mouth, and count the howlers of this ignorant Frau 
Stbhr, and watch the time slipping away. A year is so important 
at our age. Down below, one goes through so many changes, and 
makes so much progress, in a single year of life. And I have to stag- 
nate up here — yes, just stagnate like a filthy puddle; it isn’t too 
crass a comparison.” 

Strange to say, Hans Castorp’s only reply to all this was a query 
as to whether it was possible to get porter up here; when Joachim 
looked at him, in some astonishment, he perceived that his cousin 
was overcome with sleep, that in fact he was actually nodding. 

“ But you are going to sleep! ” said Joachim. “ Come along, it is 
time we both went to bed.” 

“ 4 You can’t call it time,’ ” quoth Hans Castorp, thick-tongued. 
He went with his cousin, rather bent and stiff in the knees, like a 
man bowed to the earth with fatigue. However, in the dimly 
lighted corridor he pulled himself sharply together on hearing his 
cousin say: “ There’s Krokowski sitting there. I think I’ll just have 
to present you, as briefly as possible.” 

Dr. Krokowski sat in the bright light at the fire-place of one of 
the reception-rooms, close to the folding doors. He was reading 
a paper, and got up as the young people approached. 

Joachim, in military position, heels together, said: “ Herr Doc- 
tor, may I present my cousin Castorp from Hamburg? He has just 
arrived.” 

Dr. Krokowski greeted the new inmate with a jovial and robust 



THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


1 6 

heartiness, as who should say that with him all formality was 
superfluous, and only jocund mutual confidence in place. He was 
about thirty-five years old, broad-shouldered and fleshy, much 
shorter than either of the youths before him, so that he had to tip 
back his head to look them in the face. He was unusually pale, of 
a translucent, yes, phosphorescent pallor, that was further ac- 
centuated by the dark ardour of his eyes, the blackness of his 
brows, and his rather long, full whisker, which ended in two 
points and already showed some white threads. He had on a black 
double-breasted, somewhat worn sack suit; black, open-worked 
sandal-like shoes over grey woollen socks, and a soft turn-down 
collar, such as Hans Castorp had previously seen worn only by 
a photographer in Danzig, which did, in fact, lend a certain 
stamp of the studio to Dr. Krokowski’s appearance. Smiling 
warmly and showing his yellow teeth in his beard, he shook the 
young man by the hand, and said in a baritone voice, with rather 
a foreign drawl: “ Wel-come to our midst, Herr Castorp! May 
you get quickly acclimatized and feel yourself at home among us! 
Do you come as a patient, may I ask? ” 

It was touching to see Hans Castorp labour to master his drowsi- 
ness and be polite. It annoyed him to be in such bad form, and 
with the self-consciousness of youth he read signs of indulgent 
amusement in the warmth of the Assistant’s manner. He replied, 
mentioning his examinations and his three weeks’ visit, and ended 
by saying he was, thank God, perfectly healthy. 

“ Really ^ ” asked Krokowski, putting his head teasingly on one 
side. His smile grew broader. “ Then you are a phenomenon 
worthy of study. I, for one, have never in my life come across a 
perfectly healthy human being. What were the examinations you 
have just passed, if I may ask? ” 

“ I am an engineer, Herr Doctor,” said Hans Castorp with 
modest dignity. 

u Ah, an engineer! ” Dr. Krokowski’s smile retreated as it were, 
lost for the moment something of its genial warmth. “ A splendid 
calling. And so you will not require any attention while you are 
here, either physical or psychical? ” 

“ Oh, no, thank you ever so much,” said Hans Castorp, and al- 
most drew back a step as he spoke. 

At that Dr. Krokowski’s smile burst forth triumphant; he 
shook the young man’s hand afresh and cried briskly: “ Well, 
sleep well, Herr Castorp, and rejoice in the fullness of your per- 
fect health; sleep well, and azcf Wiedersehen! ” With wdiich he 
dismissed the cousins and returned to his paper. 



IN THE RESTAURANT 


17 

The lift had stopped running, so they climbed the stairs; in si- 
lence, somewhat taken aback by the encounter with Dr. Kro- 
kowski. Joachim went with his cousin to number thirty-four, 
where the lame porter had already deposited the luggage of the 
new arrival. They talked for another quarter-hour while Hans 
Castorp unpacked his night and toilet things, smoking a large, mild 
cigarette the while. A cigar would have been too much for him 
this evening — a fact which impressed him as odd indeed. 

“ He looks quite a personality,” he said, blowing out the smoke. 
“ He is as pale as wax. But dear me, what hideous footgear he 
w'ears! Grey woollen socks, and then those sandals! Was he really 
offended at the end, do you think? ” 

“ He is rather touchy,” admitted Joachim. “You ought not to 
have refused the treatment so brusquely, at least not the psychical. 
He doesn’t like to have people get out of it. He doesn’t take much 
stock in me because I don’t confide in him enough. But every now 
and then I tell him a dream I’ve had, so he can have something to 
analyse.” 

“ Then I certainly did offend him,” Hans Castorp said fretfully, 
for it annoyed him to give offence. His weariness rushed over him 
with renewed force at the thought. 

“ Good-night,” he said; “ I’m falling over.” 

“At eight o’clock I’ll come fetch you to breakfast,” Joachim 
said, and went. 

Hans Castorp made only a cursory toilet for the night. Hardly 
had he put out the bedside light when sleep overcame him; but he 
started up again, remembering that in that bed, the day be- 
fore yesterday, someone had died. “ That w r asn’t the first time 
either,” he said to himself, as though the thought were reassur- 
ing. “ It is a regular death-bed, a common death-bed.” And he 
fell asleep. 

No sooner had he gone off, however, than he began to dream, 
and dreamed almost wfithout stopping until next morning. Prin- 
cipally he saw his cousin, Joachim Ziemssen, in a strange, dislo- 
cated attitude on a bob-sled, riding down a steep course. He had 
a phosphorescent pallor like Dr. Krokowski, and in front of him 
sat the gentleman rider and steered. The gentleman rider was in- 
distinct, like someone one has heard cough, but never seen. 

“ It’s all the same to us up here,” remarked the dislocated Joa- 
chim; and then it was he and not the gentleman rider who was 
coughing in that horribly pulpy manner. Hans Castorp wept bit- 
terly to hear, and then perceived that he must run to the chemist’s 
to get some cold cream. But Frau litis, with a pointed snout, sat 



i8 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


by the road-side with something in her hand, which must be her 
“ steriletto,” but was obviously nothing else than a safety-razor. 
This made Hans Castorp go from tears to laughing; and thus he 
was tossed back and forth among varying emotions, until the dawn 
came through his half-open balcony door and wakened him. 


CHAPTER II 


Of the Christening Basin , and of Grandfather in His Two- 
fold Guise 

Hans Castorp retained only pale memories of his parental home. 
His father and mother he had barely known; they had both 
dropped away in the brief period between his fifth and seventh 
birthdays; first the mother, quite suddenly, on the eve of a con- 
finement, of an arterial obstruction following neuritis — an em- 
bolus, Dr. Heidekind had called it — which caused instantaneous 
cardiac arrest. She had just been laughing, sitting up in bed, and 
il looked as though she had fallen back with laughter, but really 
it was because she had died. The father, Hermann Castorp, could 
not grasp his loss. He had been deeply attached to his wife, and 
not being of the strongest himself, never quite recovered from her 
death. His spirit was troubled; he shrank within himself; his be- 
numbed brain made him blunder in his business, so that the firm 
of Castorp and Son suffered sensible financial losses; and the next 
spring, while inspecting warehouses on the windy landing-stage, 
he got inflammation of the lungs. The fever was too much for his 
shaken heart, and in five days, notwithstanding all Dr. Heidekind’s 
care, he died. Attended to his rest by a respectable concourse of 
citizens, he followed his wife to the Castorp family vault, a charm- 
ing site in St. Katherine’s churchyard, with a view of the Botanical 
Gardens. 

His father the Senator survived him a short time; then he too 
passed away, likewise of inflammation of the lungs. His death 
agony was sore, for unlike his son, Hans Lorenz Castorp had been 
a man of tough constitution, and firmly rooted in life. Before his 
death, for the space of a year and a half, the grandfather harboured 
the orphaned Hans Castorp in his home, a mansion standing in a 
narrow lot on the Esplanade, built in the early years of the last 
century, in the northern-classic style of architecture. It was 
painted a depressing weather-colour, and had pilasters on either 



20 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


side the entrance door, which was approached by a flight of five 
steps. Besides the parterre, which had windows going down to the 
floor and furnished with cast-iron grilles, there were two upper 
storeys. 

In the parterre were chiefly reception-rooms, and a very light 
and cheerful dining-room, with walls decorated in stucco. Its 
three windows, draped with wine-coloured curtains, looked out 
on the back garden. In this room, daily, at four o’clock, for the 
space of eighteen months, grandfather and grandson dined to- 
gether, served by old Fiete, who had ear-rings in his ears and 
silver buttons on his livery, also a batiste neckcloth like his mas- 
ter’s, in which he buried his shaven chin just as Hans Lorenz Ca- 
storp did in his. Grandfather said thou to him and addressed him 
in dialect — not with any humorous intent, for he had no bent 
that way, but in all seriousness, and because it was his custom so to 
do in his dealings with the common people — the warehouse 
hands, postmen, coachmen, and servants. Hans Castorp liked to 
hear it, and very much he liked to hear Fiete reply, in dialect too, 
bending over as he served and speaking into his master’s left ear, 
for the Senator could hear much better on that side. The old man 
would listen and nod and go on eating, sitting erect between the 
table and the high back of his mahogany chair, and scarcely at all 
bending over his plate. And his grandson, opposite, watched in 
silence, with deep, unconscious concentration, Grandfather’s 
beautiful, thin, white old hands, with their pointed nails, and, on 
the right forefinger, the green seal ring with the crest; watched 
the small, deft, practised motions with which they arranged a 
mouthful of meat, vegetable, and potato on the end of his fork, 
and with a slight inclination of the head conveyed it to his mouth. 
Then he would look at his own hands, and their still clumsy 
movements, and see in them the hope foreshadowed of one day 
holding and using his knife and fork as Grandfather did. 

Again, he would wonder whether he should ever bury his chin 
in such another neck-band as that which filled the wide space inside 
Grandfather’s extraordinary collar, with its sharp points brushing 
the old man’s cheeks. He doubted it. One would have to be as old 
as Grandfather for that; in these days, save for him and his old 
Fiete, nobody, far and wide, wore such collars and neckcloths. 
It was a pity; little Hans Castorp liked the way Grandfather’s 
chin nestled in the high, snow-white band. Even after he was 
grown, he recalled it with pleasure; something in the depth of his 
being responded to it. 

When they had done, they folded their table-napkins and put 



OF THE CHRISTENING BASIN 


21 


them in their silver rings — a job at which Hans Castorp never 
acquitted himself very well, for they were the size of small table- 
cloths. Then the Senator got up from his chair, which Fiete drew 
away behind him, and went with shuffling steps into his “ office ” 
to get a cigar. Sometimes the grandson followed him in. 

This office had come to exist because of a peculiarity in the 
arrangement of the lower floor — namely, that the dining-room 
had been planned with three windows instead of two, and ran the 
whole width of the house; which left space for only two drawing- 
rooms, instead of the usual three, and gave to one of them, at right 
angles to the dining-room, with a single window on the street, a 
quite disproportionate depth. Of this room, therefore, some quar- 
ter of the length had been cut off, and turned into a cabinet. It 
was a strip of a room, with a skylight; twilighted, and not much 
furnished — there was an etagere , on which stood the Senator’s 
cigar case; a card-table, the drawer of which held whist cards, 
counters, little marking-boards w'ith tiny teeth that clapped open 
and shut, a slate and slate-pencil, paper cigar-holders, and other 
such attractions; and finally, in the comer, a rococo case in pali- 
sander-wood, with yellow silk stretched behind its glass doors. 

“ Grandpa,” little Hans Castorp might say, standing on tiptoes 
to reach the old man’s ear, ‘‘please show me the christening 
basin. ’ 

And the grandfather, who had already pulled back the skirts of 
his long cashmere frock-coat and taken the bunch of keys from 
his trouser pocket, forthwith opened the door of the glass case, 
whence floated odours odd and pleasant to the boy’s sense. Inside 
were all manner of disused and fascinating objects: a pair of silver- 
branched candlesticks, a broken barometer in a wooden case with 
allegorical carving, an album of daguerreotypes, a cedar-wood 
case for liqueurs, a funny little Turk in flowing silk robes, under 
which was a hard body with a mechanism inside. Once, when you 
wound him up, he had been able to leap about all over the table, 
but he was long since out of repair. Then there was a quaint old 
model of a ship; and right at the bottom a rat-trap. But from one 
of the middle shelves Grandfather took a much-tarnished, round 
silver dish, with a tray likewise of silver, and showed them both 
to the boy, lifting them separately and turning them about in his 
hands as he told the story he had so often told before. 

Plate and basin, one could see, and as the little one heard once 
again, had not originally belonged together; but, Grandfather said, 
they had been in use together for a round hundred years, or since 
the time when the basin was made. The latter was very beautiful, 


22 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


of simple and elegant form, in the severe taste of the early nine- 
teenth century. It rested, plain and solid, on a round base, and had 
once been gilt within, but the gilding had faded with time to a 
yellow shimmer. Its single decoration was a chaste garland of roses 
and serrated leaves about the brim. As for the plate, its far greater 
antiquity could be read on the inside: the date 1650 was engraved 
there in ornamental figures, framed in curly engraved lines exe- 
cuted in the “ modern manner ” of the period, florid and capricious 
devices and arabesques that were something between star and 
flower. On the back, engraved in a variety of scripts, were the 
names of its successive owners, seven in number, each with the 
date when it had passed into his hands. The old man named each 
one to his grandson, pointing with beringed index finger. There 
was Hans Castorp’s father's name, there was Grandfather’s own, 
there was Great-grandfather’s; then the “ great ” came doubled, 
tripled, quadrupled, from the old man’s mouth, whilst the little 
lad listened, his head on one side, the eyes full of thought, yet fixed 
and dreamy too, the childish lips parted, half with awe, half sleep- 
ily. That great-great-great-great — what a hollow sound it had, 
how it spoke of the falling away of time, yet how it seemed the 
expression of a piously cherished link between the present, his own 
life, and the depth of the past! All that, as his face showed, made 
a profound impression. As he listened to the great-great-great, he 
seemed to smell the cool, earthy air of the vault of St. Michael’s 
or Saint Katherine’s; the breath of regions where one went hat in 
hand, the head reverently bowed, walking weavingly on the tips 
of one’s toes; seemed, too, to hear the remote and set-apart hush 
of those echoing places. Religious feeling mingled in his mind 
with thoughts of death and a sense of history, as he listened to the 
sombre syllable; he received therefrom an ineffable gratification — 
indeed, it may have been for the sake of hearing the sound that he 
so often begged to see the christening basin. 

Grandfather set the vessel back on the tray, and let the boy look 
into the smooth, faintly golden inside, which caught the light from 
the window in the ceiling. 

“ Yes,” he said, “ it will soon be eight years since we held you 
over it, and the water flowed into it from your baptism. Lassen, 
the sexton of St. Jacob’s, poured it into our good Pastor Bugen- 
hagen’s hand, and it ran out over your little topknot and into the 
basin. We had warmed it, so it should not frighten you and make 
you cry, and you did not; you cried beforehand, though, so loud 
that Bugenhagen could hardly get on with the service, but you 
stopped when you felt the water — and that, let us hope, was out 


OF THE CHRISTENING BASIN 


23 

of respect for the Holy Sacrament. A few days from now it will 
be forty-four years since your blessed father w^as a baby at the 
baptismal font, and it w r as over his head the water flowed into the 
basin. That was here in this house, where he w as born, in front of 
the middle dining-room window, and old Pastor Hezekiel was still 
alive. He w 7 as the man the French nearly shot when he was young, 
because he preached against their burning and looting. He has been 
w ith God these many years. Then, five-and-seventy years ago, I 
was the youngster whose head they held over this selfsame basin; 
that was m the dining-room too, and the minister spoke the very 
words that were spoken when you and your father w r ere baptized, 
and the clear, w ; arm w r ater flowed over my head precisely the same 
way — there wasn’t much more hair than there is now — and fell 
into this golden bowl just as it did over yours.” 

The little one looked up at Grandfather’s narrow grey head, 
bending over the basin as it had in the time he described. A familiar 
feeling pervaded the child: a strange, dreamy, troubling sense: of 
change in the midst of duration, of time as both flowing and per- 
sisting, of recurrence in continuity — these were sensations he had 
felt before on the like occasion, and both expected and longed for 
again, w henever the heirloom was displayed. 

As a young man he w^as aware that the image of his grandfather 
w^as more deeply and clearly imprinted on his mind, with greater 
significance, than those of his own parents. The fact might rest 
upon sympathy and physical likeness, for the grandson resembled 
the grandfather, in so far, that is, as a rosy youth wdth the dowm 
on his chin might resemble a bleached, rheumatic septuagenarian. 
Yet it probably spoke even more for that which was indeed the 
truth, that the grandfather had been the real personality, the pic- 
turesque figure of the family. 

Long before Hans Lorenz Castorp’s passing, his person and the 
things for which he stood had ceased to be representative of his 
age. He had been a typical Christian gentleman, of the Reformed 
faith, of a strongly conservative cast of mind, as obstinately con- 
vinced of the right of the aristocracy to govern as if he had been 
born in the fourteenth century, when the labouring classes had be- 
gun to make head against the stout resistance of the free patriciate 
and wrest from it a place and voice in the councils of the ancient 
city. He had little use for the new . His active years had fallen in a 
decade of rapid grow th and repeated upheavals, a decade of prog- 
ress by forced marches, which had made continual demands on the 
public capacity for enterprise and self-sacrifice. Certainly he had 
no part or lot, old Castorp, in the brilliant triumph of the modem 



THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


2 4 

spirit that followed hard upon. It was not his fault; he had held far 
more with ancestral ways and old institutions than with ruinous 
schemes for widening the harbour, or godless and rubbishing plans 
for a great metropolis. He had put on the brakes; he had whittled 
things down wherever he could; and if matters had gone to his 
liking, the administration would have continued to wear the same 
old-fashioned, idyllic guise as, in his time, his own office did. 

Such, in his lifetime and afterwards, was the figure the old man 
presented to the eye of his fellow burghers; and such, in essentials, 
was he also to the childish gaze of little Hans Castorp, who knew 
naught of affairs of state, and whose formless, uncritical judgments 
were rather the fruit of mere lively perceptions. Yet they persisted 
into later life, as the elements of a perfectly conscious memory- 
picture, which defied expression or analysis, but was none the 
less positive for all that. We repeat that natural sympathy was in 
play here too, the close family tie and essential intimacy which not 
infrequently leaps over an intervening generation. 

Senator Castorp was tall and lean. The years had bent his back 
and neck, but he tried to counteract the curvature by pressure in 
another direction; drawing down his mouth with sedulous dignity, 
though the lips were shrunken against the bare gums, for he had 
lost all his teeth, and put in the false ones only to eat. It was this 
posture also which helped to steady an incipient shaking of the 
head, gave him his look of being sternly reined up, and caused him 
to support his chin on his neckcloth in the manner so congenial 
to little Hans Castorp’s taste. 

He loved his snuff-box — it was a longish, gold-inlaid tortoise- 
shell one — and on account of his snuff -taking, used a red pocket- 
handkerchief, the corner of which always hung out of the back 
pocket of his coat. If this foible added a quaint touch to his appear- 
ance, yet the effect was only of a slight negligence or licence due 
to age, which length of days either consciously and cheerfully 
permits itself, or else brings in its train without the victim’s being 
aware. If weakness it were, it was the only one the sharp eye of the 
child ever noted in his grandfather’s exterior. But the old man’s 
everyday appearance was not his real and authentic one, either to 
the seven-year-old child, or to the memory of the grown man in 
after years. That was different, far finer and truer; it was Grand- 
father as he appeared in a life-size portrait which had once hung 
in the house of Hans Castorp’s own parents, had moved over with 
him to the Esplanade on their death, and now hung above the great 
red satin sofa in the reception-room. 

The painting showed Hans Lorenz Castorp in his official garb as 


OF THE CHRISTENING BASIN 


2 5 

Councillor: the sober, even godly, civilian habit of a bygone cen- 
tury, which a commonwealth both self-assertive and enterprising 
had brought with it down the years and retained in ceremonial 
use in order to make present the past and make past the present, 
to bear witness to the perpetual continuity of tilings, and the per- 
fect soundness of its business signature. Senator Castorp stood at 
full length on a red-tiled floor, in a perspective of column and 
pointed arch. His chin was dropped, his mouth drawn down, his 
blue, musing eyes, with the tear ducts plain beneath them, directed 
toward the distant view. He wore the black c oat, cut full like a 
robe, more than knee-length, with a wide trimming of fur all 
round the edge; the upper sleeves were wide and puffed and fur- 
trimmed too, while from beneath them came the narrow under- 
sleeves of plain cloth, then lace cuffs, which covered the hands to 
the knuckles. The slender, elderly legs were cased in black silk 
stockings; the shoes had silver buckles. But about his neck was the 
broad, starched ruff, pressed down in front and swelling out on 
the sides, beneath which, for good measure, a fluted jabot came 
out over the waistcoat. Under his arm he held the old-fashioned, 
broad-brimmed hat, that tapered to a point at the top. 

It was a capital painting, by an artist of some note, in an old- 
masterish style that suited the subject and was reminiscent of much 
Spanish, Dutch, late Middle Ages work. Little Hans Castorp had 
often looked at it; not, of course, with any knowledge of art, but 
with a larger, even a fervid comprehension. Only once — and then 
only for a moment — had he ever seen Grandfather as he was here 
represented, on the occasion of a procession to the Rathaus. But 
he could not help feeling that this presentment was the genuine, 
the authentic grandfather, and the everyday one merely subsid- 
iary, not entirely conformable — a sort of interim grandfather, as 
it were. For it was clear that the deviations and idiosyncrasies pre- 
sented by his everyday appearance were due to incomplete, per- 
haps even unsuccessful adaptation; they were the not quite eradi- 
cate vestiges of Grandfather's pure and genuine form. The 
choker collar and band, for instance, were old-fashioned; an ad- 
jective it would have been impossible to apply to that admirable 
article of apparel whose interim representative they were: namely, 
the ruff. The same was true of the outlandish top-hat Grandfather 
wore, with the bell-shaped crown, to which the broad-brimmed 
felt in the painting corresponded, only with a higher degree of 
actuality; and of the voluminous frock-coat, whose archetype and 
original was for little Hans Castorp the lace- and fur-trimmed 
ceremonial garment. 



26 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


Thus he was glad from his heart that it should be the authentic, 
the perfect grandfather who lay there resplendent on that day 
when he came to take last leave of him. It was in the room where 
so often they had sat facing each other at table; and now, in the 
centre, Hans Lorenz Castorp was lying in a silver-mounted coffin, 
upon a begarlanded bier. He had fought out the attack on his 
lungs, fought long and stoutly, despite his air of being at home in 
the life of the day only by dint of his powers of adaptability. One 
hardly knew whether he had won or lost in the struggle; but in 
any case there he lay, with a stern yet satisfied expression, on his 
bed of state. He had altered with the illness, his nose looked sharp 
and thin; the lower half of his body was hidden by a coverlet on 
which lay a palm branch; the head was lifted high by the silken 
pillow, so that his chin rested beautifully in the front sw^ell of the 
ruff. Between the hands, half-shrouded in their lace cuffs, their 
visibly cold, dead fingers artfully arranged to simulate life, was 
stuck an ivory cross. He seemed to gaze, beneath drooping lids, 
steadfastly down upon it. 

Hans Castorp had probably seen his grandfather several times 
at the beginning of this last illness, but not toward the end. They 
had spared him the sight of the struggle, the more easily that it 
had been mostly at night; he had only felt it through the sur- 
charged atmosphere of the house, old Fiete’s red eyes, the coming 
and going of the doctors. What he gathered as he stood now by 
the bier in the dining-room, was that Grandfather had finally and 
formally surmounted his interim aspect and assumed for all time 
his true and adequate shape. And that was a gratifying result, even 
though old Fiete continually wept and shook his head, even 
though Hans Castorp himself wept, as he had at sight of the mother 
he had abruptly been bereft of, and the father who, so little time 
after her, lay in his turn still and strange before the little boy’s 
eyes. 

Thus for the third time in so short a space and in such young 
years did death play upon the spirit and senses — but chiefly on 
the senses — of the lad. The sight was no longer strange, it was al- 
ready right familiar; and as on those earlier occasions, only in still 
greater degree, he bore himself in the presence of death with a 
responsible air, quite self-controlled, showing no nervous weak- 
ness, if some natural dejection. He was unaware of the practical 
result the loss would mean to his own life, or else with childlike 
indifference was instinctively confident that he would be taken 
care of somehow; thus, at the bier, he displayed both an uncom- 
prehending coolness and a detached alertness of observation, to 



OF THE CHRISTENING BASIN 


which were added, on this third occasion, a feeling and expression 
of connoisseurship. And something more, a peculiar, precocious 
variation: he seemed no longer to think of tears — either the fre- 
quent outburst of grief or the contagion from the g^rief of others — 
as a natural reaction. In three or four months after ■'his father's pass- 
ing he had forgotten about death; but now he remembered, and all 
the impressions of that time recurred, precise, immediate, and 
piercing in their transcendent strangeness. 

Reduced to order and put into words, they would have been 
something like the following. In one aspect death was a holy, a 
pensive, a spiritual state, possessed of a certain mournful beauty. 
In another it was quite different. It was precisely the opposite, it 
was very physical, it was material, it could not possibly be called 
either holy, or pensive, or beautiful — not even mournful. The 
solemn, spiritual side expressed itself in the ceremonial lying-in- 
state of the corpse, in the fan-leaved palm and the wealth of flow- 
ers, all which symbolized the peace of God and the heavenly king- 
dom, as did even more explicitly the ivory cross stuck between the 
dead fingers of what was once Grandfather, and the bust of Christ 
bv Thorwaldsen at the head of the bier, with towering candelabra 
on either side. It was these last that gave a churchly air to the scene. 
All such arrangements had their more precise justification in the 
fact that Grandfather was now clothed for ever in his true and 
proper guise. But over and above that raison d'etre they had an- 
other, of a more profane kind, of which little Hans Castorp was 
distinctly aware, though without admitting it in so many words. 
One and all of them, but expressly the flowers, and of these more 
expressly the hosts of tuberoses, were there to palliate the other 
aspect of death, the side which was neither beautiful nor exactly 
sad, but somehow almost improper — its lowly, physical side — 
to slur it over and prevent one from being conscious of it. 

It was this other aspect of death- that made Grandfather himself 
look so strange, not like Grandfather at all, more like a life-size 
wax doll, which death had put in his place to be the centre of ail 
this pious and reverent spectacle. He who lay there — or, more 
correctly , that w hich lay there — w r as not Grandfather himself, 
but a shell, made, as Hans Castorp was aware, not of wax, but of 
its own substance, and only of that. Therein, precisely, was the 
impropriety. It was scarcely sad at all — as things are not which 
have to do with the body and only with it. Little Hans Castorp 
regarded that substance, waxy yellow, and fine-grained like cheese, 
of w hich the life-size figure w as made, the face and hands of what 
had been Grandfather. A fly had settled on the quiet brow, and 



THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


began to move its proboscis up and down. Old Fiete shooed it 
cautiously away, taking care not to touch the forehead of the dead, 
putting on a seemly air of absent-mindedness — of obscurantism, as 
it were — as though he neither might nor would take notice of 
what he was doing. This correctness of demeanour obviously had 
to do with the fact that Grandfather was now no longer anything 
but body. But the fly, after a circling flight, came to rest on Grand- 
father’s fingers, close to the ivory cross. And Hans Castorp, watch- 
ing, thought he detected, more plainly than ever before, a familiar, 
strange exhalation, faint, yet oddly clinging — he blushed to find 
that it made him think of a former schoolfellow, who was avoided 
by his class-mates because he suffered from a certain unpleasant 
affection — for the drowning out of which the tuberoses were 
there, and which, with all their lovely luxuriance and the strong- 
ness of their scent, they yet failed to overpower. 

He stood three times by his Grandfather’s bier. Once alone with 
old Fiete; once with Great-uncle Tienappel, the wine merchant, 
and his two uncles, James and Peter; the third and last time when 
a group of harbour hands in their Sunday clothes came to take 
leave of the head of the house of Castorp and Son. Then came the 
funeral. The room was full of people, and Pastor Bugenhagen of 
St. Michael’s, the same who had baptized little Hans, preached 
the sermon in a ruff. He was most friendly with the boy as they 
drove out together to the cemetery, in the first carriage behind 
the hearse. Thus did another epoch in the life of Hans Castorp 
come to an end, and again he moved to a new home and new sur- 
roundings, for the second time in his young life. 

At Tienappels\ and of Young Hans's Moral State 

The change was no loss to him; for he entered the home of his 
appointed guardian, Consul Tienappel, where he wanted for noth- 
ing. Certainly this was true so far as his bodily needs were con- 
cerned, and not less in the sense of safe-guarding his interests — 
about which he was still too young to know anything at all. For 
Consul Tienappel, an uncle of Hans’s deceased mother, was ad- 
ministrator of the Castorp estate; he put up the property for sale, 
took in hand the business of liquidating the firm of Castorp and 
Son, Importers and Exporters, and realized from the whole nearly 
four hundred thousand marks, the inheritance of young Hans. 
This sum Consul Tienappel invested in trust funds, and took unto 
himself two per cent of the interest every quarter, without im- 
pairment of his kinsmanly feeling. 



AT TIENAPPELS 


2 9 

The Tienappel house iav at the foot of a garden in Harveste- 
huderstrasse; the windows looked out on a plot of lawn in which 
not the tiniest weed was suffered to flourish, then upon public 
rose-borders, and then upon the river. The Consul went on foot 
every morning to his business in the Old Town — although he 
possessed more than one fine equipage — in order to get a little 
exercise, for he sometimes suffered from cerebral congestion. He 
returned in the same way at five in the afternoon, at which time 
the Tienappels dined, with due and fitting ceremony. He was a 
weighty man, whose suits were always of the best English cloths; 
his eyes were waterv blue and prominent behind his gold-rimmed 
glasses, his nose was ruddy, and his square-cut beard was grey; he 
wore a flashing brilliant on the stubby little finger of his left hand. 
His wife v/as long since dead. He had two sons, Peter and James, 
of whom one was in the navy and seldom at home, the other occu- 
pied in the paternal wine trade, and destined heir to the business. 
The housekeeping, for many years, had been the care of an Altona 
goldsmith’s daughter, named Schalletn, who wore starched white 
ruffles at her plump, round wrists. Hers it was to see to it that the 
table, morning and evening, was richly laden with cold meats, with 
crabs and salmon, eel and smoked breast of goose, with tomato 
ketchup for the roast beef. She kept a watchful eye on the hired 
waiters when Consul Tienappel gave a gentlemen’s dinner; and 
she it was w ho, so far as in her lay, took the place of a mother to 
little Hans Castorp. 

So he grew up; in wretched weather, in the teeth of wind and 
mist, grew r up, so to sav, in a yellow mackintosh, and, generally 
speaking, he throve. A little ansemic he had always been, so Dr. 
Heidekind said, and had him take a good glass of porter after third 
breakfast every day, when he came home from school. This, as 
everyone knows, is a hearty drink — Dr. Heidekind considered it 
a blood-maker — and certainly Hans Castorp found it most sooth- 
ing to his spirits and encouraging to a propensity of his, which his 
Uncle Tienappel called “dozing”: namely, sitting staring into 
space, with his jaw dropped and his thoughts fixed on just nothing 
at all. But on the whole he was sound and fit, an adequate tennis 
player and rower; though actually handling the oars was less to his 
taste than sitting of a summer evening on the terrace of the Uhlen- 
horst ferry-house, w r ith a good drink before him and the sound of 
music in his ears, while he watched the lighted boats, and the 
swans mirrored in the bright water. Hear him talk, sedate and sen- 
sible, in a rather low, monotonous voice, just tinged with dialect; 
observe him in his blond correctness, with his well-shaped head, 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


3 ° 

which had about it some stamp of the classic, and his self-possessed, 
indolent bearing, the fruit of innate, inherited, perfectly uncon- 
scious self-esteem — you would swear that this young Castorp 
was a legitimate and genuine product of the soil in which he flour- 
ished, and strikingly at home in his environment. Nor would he, 
had he ever put such a question to himself, have been for a single 
second doubtful of the answer. 

Yes, he was thoroughly in his element in the atmosphere of this 
great seaboard city: this reeking air, compact of good living and 
a retail trade that embraced the four corners of the earth. It had 
been the breath of his father’s nostrils, and the son drew it in with 
profound acquiescence and a sense of well-being. The exhalations 
from water, coals, and tar, the sharp tang in the nostrils from 
heaped-up stacks of colonial produce; the huge steam-cranes at 
the dock-side, imitating the quiet, the intelligence, and the giant 
strength of elephants at work, as they hoisted tons of sacks, bales, 
chests, vats, and carboys out of the bowels of seagoing ships and 
conveyed them into waiting trains and scales; the business men, in 
yellow rubber coats like his own, streaming to the Bourse at mid- 
day, where, as he knew, there was oftentimes pretty sharp work, 
and a man might have to strengthen his credit at short notice by 
giving out invitations to a big dinner — all this he felt, saw, heard, 
knew. Besides it all, there was the field in which later was to lie 
his own particular interest: the confusion of the yards, the mam- 
moth bodies of great ships, Asiatic and African liners, lying in dry- 
dock, keel and propeller bare, supported by props as thick as tree- 
trunks, lying there in monstrous helplessness, swarmed over by 
troops of men like dwarfs, scouring, whitewashing, hammering; 
there were the roofed-over ways, wrapped in wreaths of smoke- 
like mist, holding the towering frames of rising ships, among 
which moved the engineers, blue-print and loading scale in hand, 
directing the work-people. All these were familiar sights to Hans 
Castorp from his youth upwards, awaking in him only the agree- 
able, homely sensations of “ belonging,” which were the preroga- 
tive of his years. Such sensations would reach their height when 
he sat of a Sunday forenoon with James Tienappel or his cousin 
Ziemssen — Joachim Ziemssen — in the pavilion at Alster, break- 
fasting on hot cuts and smoked meat, with a glass of old port; or 
when, having eaten, he would lean back in his chair and give him- 
self up to his cigar. For therein especially was he true to type, that 
he liked good living, and notwithstanding his thin-bloodedness 
and look of over-refinement clung to the grosser pleasures of life 
as a greedy suckling to its mother’s breast. 



AT TIENAPPELs’ 


31 

Comfortably, not without dignity, he carried the weight of cul- 
ture with which the governing upper class of the commercial city 
endowed its children. He was as clean as a well-cared-for baby, 
and dressed by the tailor in whom the young men of his social 
sphere felt most confidence. Schalleen took beautiful care of his 
small stock of carefully marked linen, which was bestowed in a 
dressing-chest on the English plan. When he studied away from 
home, he regularly sent back his laundry to be washed and mended, 
for it was a saying of his that outside Hamburg nobody in the 
kingdom knew how to iron. A rough spot on the cuff of his dainty 
coloured shirts filled him with acute discomfort. His hands, though 
not particularly aristocratic in shape, were well tended and fresh- 
skinned, and he wore a platinum chain ring as well as the seal ring 
inherited from Grandfather. His teeth were rather soft and defec- 
tive and he had a number of gold fillings. 

Standing and walking, he rather stuck out his abdomen, which 
hardly made an athletic impression; but his bearing at table was 
beyond cavil. Sitting very erect, he would turn the whole upper 
part of his body to speak to his neighbour (with self-possession, 
of course, and a little plcrtt) and he kept his elbows well in as he 
dismembered his piece of fowl, or deftly, with the appointed tool, 
drew the rosy flesh from a lobster’s shell. His first requirement 
after a meal was the finger-bowl of perfumed water, his second 
the Russian cigarette — which paid no duty, as he had a convenient 
way of getting them smuggled in. After the cigarette the cigar; 
he favoured a Bremen brand called Maria Mancim, of which we 
shall hear more hereafter; the fragrant narcotic blended so sooth- 
ingly with the coffee. Hans Castorp protected his supply of to- 
bacco from the injurious effects of steam-heating by keeping it in 
the cellar, whither he would betake himself every morning to load 
his case with his stock for the day. It went against his grain to eat 
butter served in the piece instead of in little fluted balls. 

It will be seen that we mean to say everything that may be said 
in Hans Castorp’s favour, yet without fulsomeness, not making 
him out as better, or worse, than he was. He was neither genius nor 
dunderhead; and if, in our description of him, we have avoided the 
use of the word mediocre, it has been for reasons quite uncon- 
nected with his intelligence, hardly even with any bearing upon 
his whole simple personality, but rather out of regard for his lot 
in life, to which we incline to ascribe a certain importance above 
and beyond personal considerations. His head-piece sustained 
without undue strain the demands made upon it by the course at 
the Real-gymnasium — strain, indeed, was something to which he 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


3 2 

was quite definitely disinclined, whatever the circumstances or the 
object of his effort; less out of fear of hurting himself than because 
he positively saw no reason, or, more precisely, saw no positive 
reason, for exertion. This then, perhaps, is why we may not call 
him mediocre: that, somehow or other, he was aware of the lack 
of such a reason. 

A man lives not only his personal life, as an individual, but also, 
consciously or unconsciously, the life of his epoch and his contem- 
poraries. He may regard the general, impersonal foundations of his 
existence as definitely settled and taken for granted, and be as far 
from assuming a critical attitude toward them as our good Hans 
Castorp really was; yet it is quite conceivable that he may none the 
less be vaguely conscious of the deficiencies of his epoch and find 
them prejudicial to his own moral well-being. All sorts of personal 
aims, ends, hopes, prospects, hover before the eyes of the indi- 
vidual, and out of these he derives the impulse to ambition and 
achievement. Now, if the life about him, if his own time seem, how- 
ever outwardly stimulating, to be at bottom empty of such food 
for his aspirations; if he privately recognize it to be hopeless, view- 
less, helpless, opposing only a hollow silence to all the questions 
man puts, consciously or unconsciously, yet somehow puts, as to 
the final, absolute, and abstract meaning in all his efforts and activi- 
ties; then, in such a case, a certain laming of the personality is 
bound to occur, the more inevitably the more upright the charac- 
ter in question; a sort of palsy, as it were, which may even extend 
from his spiritual and moral over into his physical and organic 
part. In an age that affords no satisfying answer to the eternal 
question of “ Why? ” “ To what end? ” a man who is capable of 
achievement over and above the average and expected modicum 
must be equipped either with a moral remoteness and single- 
mindedness which is rare indeed and of heroic mould, or else with 
an exceptionally robust vitality. Hans Castorp had neither the one 
nor the other of these; and thus he must be considered mediocre, 
though in an entirely honourable sense. 

All this that we have said has reference to the inward state of 
the young man not only during his school years, but also in those 
that followed, after he had made choice of his civil profession. On 
his way through his forms at school, he had now and again to take 
one for the second time. But in the main his origin, his good breed- 
ing, and also a pretty if unimpassioned gift for mathematics got 
him forward; and when he received his one-year service certifi- 
cate, he made up his mind to continue at school, principally, it 
must be said, because he thus prolonged a situation he was used to, 



AT TIENAPPELS 


33 

in which no definite decisions had to be taken, and in which he had 
further time to think matters over and decide what he really 
wanted to do, which he was far from knowing after he had arrived 
at the top form. Even when it was finally decided — to say when 
Hans Castorp finally decided it would be saying too much — he 
had the feeling that it might quite as well have been decided some 
other way. 

So much, however, was true, that he had always liked ships. As 
a small boy he had filled the pages of his note-books with drawings 
of fishing-barks, five-masters and vegetable-barges. When he was 
fifteen, he had had a front seat at the christening ceremony of the 
new double-screw' steamer Hansa . He had watched her leave the 
ways at Blohm and Voss's, and afterwards made quite a happy 
water-colour of the graceful ship, done with a good deal of atten- 
tion to detail, and a loving and not unskilful treatment of the glassy 
green, rolling waves. Consul Tienappel hung it in his private office, 
and somebody told him that it showed talent, that the artist might 
develop into a good marine painter — a remark which the Consul 
could safely repeat to his ward, for Hans Castorp only laughed 
good-humouredly, and not for a moment considered letting him- 
self m for a career of being eccentric and not getting enough 
to eat. 

“ You haven’t so much, you know,” his Uncle Tienappel would 
say to him. “ James and Peter will get most of what I have; that is 
to sav, it stops in the business, and Peter will draw his interest. 
What belongs to you is well invested, and brings you in something 
safe. But it’s no joke living on your interest to-day, unless one has 
at least five times what you have; and if you want to be somebody 
here in this town and live as you have been brought up to, you’ll 
have to earn a good bit more to put with it. you mark my words, 
my son.” 

Hans Castorp marked them. He looked about for a profession 
suitable in his own eyes and those of his fellow citizens. And when 
he had once chosen — it came about at the instance of old Wilms, 
of the firm of Tunder and Wilms, who said to Consul Tienappel 
at the Saturday whist-table that young Castorp ought to study 
ship-building; it would be a good idea, he could come into his 
office and he would keep an eye on him — when he had once 
chosen, he thought very highly of his calling. It was, to be sure, 
confoundedly complicated and fatiguing, but all the same it was 
very first-rate, very solid, very important. And certainly, being 
peaceful in his tastes, he preferred it to that of his cousin Ziemssen, 
the son of his mother’s half-sister, who was bent on being an 



THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


34 

officer. But Joachim Ziemssen was rather weak in the chest, and 
for that reason a calling which would keep him in the open, and 
in which there was no mental strain or fatigue to speak of, might 
be quite the right thing for him, Hans Castorp thought with easy 
condescension. He had the greatest respect for work — though 
personally he found that he tired easily. 

And here we revert to our suggestion of a few pages back: the 
idea that an unfavourable influence exerted upon a man’s personal 
life by the times in which he lives may even extend to his physical 
organism. Hans Castorp respected work — as how should he not 
have- It would have been unnatural. Work was for him, in the 
nature of things, the most estimable attribute of life; when you 
came down to it, there was nothing else that was estimable. It was 
the principle by which one stood or fell, the Absolute of the time; 
it was, so to speak, its own justification. His regard for it was thus 
religious in its character, and, so far as he knew, unquestioning. 
But it was another matter, whether he loved it; and that he could 
not do, however great his regard, the simple reason being that it 
did not agree with him. Exacting occupation dragged at his nerves, 
it wore him out; quite openly he confessed that he liked better to 
have his time free, not weighted with the leaden load of effort; 
lying spacious before him, not divided up by obstacles one had to 
grit one’s teeth and conquer, one after the other. These conflicting 
sentiments on the subject of work had, strictly speaking, to be 
reconciled. Is it, perhaps, possible, if he had been able to believe in 
work as a positive value, a self-justifying principle, believe in it in 
the very depth of his soul, even without being himself conscious 
of doing so, that his body as well as his spirit — first the spirit and 
through it the body as well — would have been able to devote itself 
to his task with more of joy and constancy, would have been able 
to find peace therein^ Here again is posed the question of Hans 
Castorp’s mediocrity or more than mediocrity, to which we would 
give no hard and fast answer. For we do not set up as the young 
man’s encomiast, and prefer to leave room for the other view: 
namely, that his work stood somewhat in the way of his un- 
clouded enjoyment of his Maria Mancini. 

To military service he was not inclined. His being revolted 
against it, and found ways of making difficulties. It may be, too, 
that Staff Medical Officer Dr. Eberding, who visited at Harveste- 
huderstrasse, heard from Consul Tienappel, in the course of con- 
versation, that young Castorp was leaving home to begin his tech- 
nical studies, and would find a call to the colours a very sensible 
interruption to his labours. 




THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


3 <* 

likely to know best in all contingencies; or would he side with the 
opposition in the Assembly? In his blue eyes, under their reddish- 
brown brows, his fellow citizens read no answer to their curious 
questioning. And he probably knew none himself, Hans Castorp, 
this still unwritten page. 

When he took the journey upon which we have encountered 
him, he was in his twenty-third year. He had spent four semesters 
at the Dantzig Polytechnic, four more at the technical schools of 
Braunschweig and Karlsruhe, and had just previously passed his 
first final, quite respectably, if without any fanfare of trumpets. 
And now he was preparing to enter the firm of Tunder and Wilms, 
as volunteer apprentice, in order to get his practical training in the 
ship-yards. 

But at this point his life took the following turn. He had had to 
work hard and steadily for his examination, and came home look- 
ing rather paler than a man of his blond, rosy type should do. Dr. 
Heidekind scolded, and insisted on a change of air; a complete 
change, not a stay at Nordemey or Wyk on Fohr — that would 
not mend matters this time, he said; if they wanted his advice, it 
was that Hans Castorp should go for a few weeks to the high 
mountains before he took up his work in the yards. 

Consul Tienappel told his nephew and foster-son he approved 
of the plan, only that in that case they would part company for 
the summer, for wild horses couldn’t drag him into the high moun- 
tains. They were not for him; he required a reasonable atmos- 
pheric pressure, else he might get an attack. Hans Castorp would 
be good enough to go by himself — let him pay his cousin Ziemssen 
a visit. 

It was an obvious suggestion. Joachim Ziemssen was ill — not ill 
like Hans Castorp, but in all seriousness, critically. There had been 
a great scare, in fact. He had always been subject to feverish ca- 
tarrh, and one day he actually spat blood; whereupon he had been 
rushed off to Davos, heels over head, to his great distress and 
affliction, for he had just then arrived within sight of the goal of 
all his hopes. Some semesters long, he had complied with the wish 
of his family and studied law; then, yielding to irresistible inward 
urging, he had changed over, presented himself as ensign and been 
accepted. And now, for the past five months, he had been stuck in 
the International Sanatorium Berghof (directing physician Hofrat 
Behrens) and was bored half sick, as he wrote home on postcards. 
If Hans Castorp wanted to do himself a good turn before he en- 
tered his post at Tunder and Wilms’s, what more natural than that 



AT TIENAPPELS* 


37 

he should go up to Davos and keep his poor cousin company for a 
while — it would be agreeable on both sides. 

It was midsummer before he made up his mind to go. Already 
the last week in July. 

He left for a stay of three weeks. 



CHAPTER III 


Drawing the Veil 

He had been so utterly weary, he had feared to oversleep; but he 
was on his legs rather earlier than usual, and had a superfluity of 
leisure in which to perforin the accustomed ritual of his morning 
toilet, in which a rubber tub, a wooden bowl of green lavender 
soap, and the accompanying little brush played the principal parts. 
He had even time to do some unpacking and moving in. As he 
covered his cheeks with scented lather and drew over them the 
blade of his silver-plated “ safety,” he recalled his confused dreams 
and shook his head indulgently over so much nonsense, with the 
superior feeling a man has when shaving himself in the clear light 
of reason. He did not feel precisely rested, yet had a sense of morn- 
ing freshness. 

With powdered cheeks, in his Scotch-thread drawers and red 
morocco slippers, he walked out on the balcony, drying his hands. 
The balcony ran across the house and was divided into small sepa- 
rate compartments by opaque glass partitions, which did not quite 
reach to the balustrade. The morning was cool and cloudy. Trails 
of mist lay motionless in front of the heights on one side and the 
other, while great cloud-masses, grey and white, hung down over 
the distant peaks. Patches and bands of blue showed here and 
there; now and then a gleam of sunshine lighted up the village 
down in the valley, till it glistened whitely against the dark fir- 
covered slopes. Somewhere there was music, very likely in the 
same hotel where there had been a concert the evening before. 
The subdued chords of a hymn floated up; after a pause came a 
march. Hans Castorp loved music from his heart; it worked upon 
him in much the same way as did his breakfast porter, with deeply 
soothing, narcotic effect, tempting him to doze. He listened well 
pleased, his head on one side, his eyes a little bloodshot. 

He could see below him the winding road up to the sanatorium, 
by which he had come the night before. Among the dewy grass of 
the sloping terrace short-stemmed, star-shaped gentians stood out. 
Part of the level ground had been enclosed for a garden, with 



DRAWING THE VEIL 


39 

flower-beds, gravel paths, and an artificial grotto under a stately 
silver fir. A hall, with rechning-chairs and a galvanized roof, 
opened tow ards the south, near it stood a flag-pole, painted red- 
dish-browm, on which the flag fluttered open now r and then on its 
cord. It w as a fancy flag, green and w hite, with the caduceus, the 
emblem of healing, in the centre. 

A w oman w as walking in the garden, an elderly lady, of melan- 
choly, even tragic aspect. Dressed all in black, a black veil wound 
about her dishevelled grey-black hair, with wrinkled brow and 
coal-black eves that had hanging pouches of Tin beneath them, 
she moved with rapid, restless step along the garden paths, staring 
straight before her, her knees a little bent, her arms hanging stiffly 
down. The ageing face in its southern pallor, with the large, wried 
mouth drawn down on one side, reminded Hans Castorp of a por- 
trait he had once seen of a famous tragic actress. And strange it 
was to see how the pale, black-clad woman unconsciously matched 
her long, woeful pace to the music of the march. 

He looked down upon her with pensive sympathy; it seemed to 
him the sad apparition darkened the morning sunshine. But in the 
same instant he became aware of something else, something audi- 
ble: certain noises penetrating to his hearing from the room on the 
left of his own, which was occupied, Joachim had said, by a Rus- 
sian couple. Again he felt a discrepancy; these sounds no more 
suited the blithe freshness of the morning than had the sad sight 
in the garden below — rather they seemed to befoul the air, make 
it thick, sticky. Hans Castorp recalled having heard similar sounds 
the evening before, though his w eariness had prevented him from 
heeding them: a struggling, a panting and giggling, the offensive 
nature of which could not long remain hidden to the young man, 
tr) as he good-naturedlv did to put a harmless construction on 
them. Perhaps something more or other than good nature was in 
play, something to which we give a variety of names, calling it 
now purity of soul, w hich sounds insipid; again by that grave, 
beautiful name of chastity; and yet again disparaging it as hy- 
pocrisy, as “ hating to look facts in the face ”; even ascribing it to 
an obscure sense of awe and piety — and, in truth, something of 
all these w r as in Hans Castorp’s face and bearing as he listened. He 
seemed to be practising a seemly obscurantism; to be mentally 
draw mg the veil over these sounds that he heard; to be telling him- 
self that honour forbade his taking any cognizance of them, or 
even hearing them at all — it gave him an air of propriety which 
w^as not quite native, though he knew how to assume it on occa- 
sion. 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


40 

With this mien, then, he drew back from the balcony into his 
room, in order not to listen further to proceedings which, for all 
the giggling that went with them, were plainly in dead earnest, 
even alarming. But from indoors the noise could be heard even 
more plainly. He seemed to hear a chase about the room; a chair 
fell over; someone was caught and seized; loud kissing ensued — 
and the music below had changed to a waltz, a popular air whose 
hackneyed, melodious phrases accompanied the invisible scene. 
Hans Castorp stood towel in hand and listened, against his better 
judgment. And he began to blush through the powder; for what he 
had all along seen coming was come, and the game had passed quite 
frankly over into the bestial. “ Good Lord! ” he thought. He 
turned away and made as much noise as possible while he con- 
cluded his toilet. “ Well, at least they are married, as far as that 
goes,” he said to himself. “ But in broad daylight — it’s a bit thick! 
And last night too, I’m sure. But of course they are ill, or at least 
one of them, or they wouldn’t be here — that may be some excuse. 
The scandalous part of it is, the walls are so thin one can’t help 
hearing everything. Simply intolerable. The place is shamefully 
jerry-built, of course. What if I should see them, or even be intro- 
duced? I simply couldn’t endure it! ” Here Hans Castorp re- 
marked with surprise that the flush which had mounted in his 
freshly shaven cheek did not subside, nor its accompanying 
warmth: his face glowed with the same dry heat as on the evening 
before. He had got free of it in sleep, but the blush had made it 
set in again. He did not feel the friendlier for this discovery to- 
wards the wretched pair next door; in fact he stuck out his lips and 
muttered a derogatory word in their direction, as he tried to cool 
his hot face by bathing it in cold water — and only made it glow 
the more. He felt put out; his voice vibrated with ill humour as he 
answered to his cousin’s knock on the wall; and he appeared to 
Joachim on his entrance like anything but a man refreshed and 
invigorated by a good night’s sleep. 

Breakjast 

“ Morning,” Joachim said. “ Well, that was your first night up 
here. How did you find it? ” 

He was dressed for out-of-doors, in sports clothes and stout 
boots, and carried his ulster over his arm. The outline of the flat 
bottle could be seen on the side pocket. As yesterday, he wore 
no hat. 

“Thanks,” responded Hans Castorp, “it was well enough, I 



BREAKFAST 


41 

won’t try to judge yet. I’ve had all sorts of mixed-up dreams, and 
this building seems to possess the disadvantage of being porous — 
the sound goes straight through it. It’s annoying. — Who is that 
dark woman down in the garden? ” 

Joachim knew at once whom he meant. 

“ Oh,” he said, “ that’s Tous-les-deux. We all call her that up 
here, because it’s the only thing she says. Mexican, you know; 
doesn’t know a word of German and hardly any French, just a 
few scraps. She has been here for five weeks with her eldest son, 
a hopeless case, without much longer to go. He has it all over, 
tubercular through and through, you might say. Behrens says it is 
much like typhus, at the end — horrible for all concerned. Well, 
two weeks ago the second son came up, to see his brother before 
the end — handsome as a picture; both of them were that, with 
eyes like live coals — they nuttered the dovecots, I can tell you. He 
had been coughing a bit down below, but otherwise quite lively. 
Well, he no sooner gets up here than he begins to run a tempera- 
ture, high fever, you know, 103.1 0 . They put him to bed — and if 
he gets up again, Behrens says, it will be more good luck than good 
management. But it was high time he came, in any case, Behrens 
says. — Well, and since then the mother goes about — whenever 
she is not sitting with them — and if you speak to her, she just says: 
4 T ous les deux! ’ She can’t say any more, and for the moment 
there is no one up here who understands Spanish.” 

u So that’s it,” Hans Castorp said. “ Will she say it to me, when 
I get to know her, do you think 5 That will be queer — funny and 
weird at the same time, I mean.” His eyes looked as they had yes- 
terday, they felt hot and heavy, as if tired with weeping, and yet 
brilliant too, with the gleam that had been kindled in them yester- 
day at the sound of that strange, new cough on the part of the 
gentleman rider. He had the feeling that he had been out of touch 
with yesterday since waking, and had only now picked up the 
threads again where he laid them down. He told his cousin he was 
ready, sprinkling a few drops of lavender-water on his handker- 
chief as he spoke and dabbing his face with it, on the brow and 
under the eyes. “ If you like, we can go to breakfast, tous les 
deux” he recklessly joked. Joachim looked with mildness at him, 
then smiled his enigmatic smile of mingled melancholy and mock- 
ery — or so it seemed, for he did not express himself otherwise. 

After looking to his supply of cigars Hans Castorp took coat 
and stick, also, rather defiantly, his hat — he was far too sure of 
himself and his station in life to alter his ways and acquire new 
ones for a mere three weeks’ visit — and they went out and down 



THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


42 

the step. In the corridor Joachim pointed to this and that door 
and gave the names of the occupants — there were German names, 
but also all sorts of foreign ones — with brief comments on them 
and the seriousness of their cases. 

They met people already coming back from breakfast, and 
when Joachim said good-morning, Hans Castorp courteously 
lifted his hat. He was tense and nervous, as a young man is when 
about to present himself before strangers — when, that is, he is 
conscious that his eyes are heavy and his face red. The last, how- 
ever, was only true in part, for he was rather pale than otherwise. 

44 Before I forget it,” he said abruptly, “ you may introduce me 
to the lady in the garden if you like, I mean if it happens that way, 
I have no objection. She would just say: £ Tons les deux 9 to me, 
and I shouldn’t mind it, being prepared, and knowing what it 
means — I should know how to look. But I don’t wish to know 
the Russian pair, do you hear? I expressly don’t wish it. They are 
a very ill-behaved lot. If I must live for three weeks next door to 
them, and nothing else could be arranged, at least I needn’t know 
them. I am justified in that, and I simply and explicitly decline.” 

“ Very good,” Joachim said. 44 Did they disturb you? Yes, they 
are barbarians, more or less; uncivilized, I told you so before. He 
comes to the table in a leather jacket, very shabby, I always won- 
der Behrens doesn’t make a row. And she isn’t the cleanest in this 
world, with her feather hat. You may make yourself quite easy, 
they sit at the 4 bad ’ Russian table, a long way off us — there is a 
4 good ’ Russian table, too, you see, where the nicer Russians sit 
— and there is not much chance of you coming into contact with 
them, even if you wanted to. It is not very easy to make acquaint- 
ance here, partly from the fact that there are so many foreigners. 
Personally, as long as I’ve been here, I know very few.” 

44 Which of the two is ilP ” Hans Castrop asked . 44 He or she? ” 

44 The man I think. Yes, only the man,” Joachim answered, ab- 
sently. They passed among the hat- and coat-racks and entered the 
light, low-vaulted hall, where there was a buzzing of voices, a 
clattering of dishes, and a running to and fro of waitresses with 
steaming jugs. 

There were seven tables, all but two of them standing length- 
wise of the room. They were good-sized, seating each ten persons, 
though not all of them were at present full. A few steps diagonally 
into the room, and they stood at their places; Hans Castorp’s was 
at the end of a table placed between the two crosswise ones. Erect 
behind his chair, he bowed stiffly but amiably to each table-mate 
in turn, as Joachim formally presented him; hardly seeing them, 


BREAKFAST 


43 

much less having their names penetrate his mind. He caught but a 
single name and person — Frau Stohr, whom he perceived to have 
a red face and greasy ash-blond hair. Looking at her he could 
quite credit the malapropisms Joachim told of. Her face expressed 
nothing but ill-nature and ignorance. He sat down, observing as 
he did so that earlv breakfast w 7 as taken seriously up here. 

There were pots of marmalade and honey, basins of rice and 
oatmeal porridge, dishes of cold meat and scrambled eggs; a pleni- 
tude of butter, a Gruyere cheese dropping moisture under a glass 
bell. A bowl of fresh and dried fruits stood ir the centre of the 
table. A w aitress in black and white asked Hans Castorp whether 
he would drink coffee, cocoa or tea. She w as small as a child, wuth 
a long, oldish face — a dwarf, he realized w ith a start. He looked 
at his cousin, who only shrugged indifferently wdth brows and 
shoulders, as though to sav: “ Well, w r hat of it? ” So he adjusted 
himself as speedily as possible to the fact that he w as being served 
by a dw'arf, and put special consideration into his voice as he asked 
for tea. Then he began eating rice with cinnamon and sugar, his 
eves roving over the table full of other inviting viands, and over 
the guests at the six remaining tables, Joachim’s companions and 
fellow' victims, who w r ere all inw ardly infected, and now sat there 
breakfasting. 

The hall was done in that modem style w hich knows how r to 
give just the right touch of individuality to something in reality 
very simple. It was rather shallow 7 in proportion to its length, and 
opened in great arched bays into a sort of lobby surrounding it, 
in w r hich serving-tables were placed. The pillars were faced half- 
way up with wood finished to look like sandalwood, the upper 
part white-enamelled, like the ceiling and upper half of the walls. 
They w r ere stenciled in gay-coloured bands of simple and lively 
designs w 7 hich w r ere repeated on the girders of the vaulted ceiling. 
The room w 7 as further enlivened by several electric chandeliers in 
bright brass, consisting of three rings placed horizontally one over 
the other and held together by delicate woven work, the lowest 
ring set w 7 ith globes of milky glass like little moons. There were 
four glass doors, two on the opposite w all, opening on the veran- 
dah, a third at the bottom of the room on the left, leading into the 
front hall, and a fourth, by which Hans Castorp had entered 
through a vestibule, as Joachim had brought him down a different 
stair from the one they had used yesterday evening. 

He had on his right a plain-looking woman m black, wdth a 
dull flush on her cheeks, the skin of which was downy-looking, 
as an older person’s often is. She looked to him like a seamstress 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


44 

or home dressmaker, the idea being suggested by the fact that she 
took only coffee and buttered rolls for breakfast; since his child- 
hood he had always somehow associated dressmakers with coffee 
and buttered rolls. On his left sat an English spinster, also well on 
in years, very ugly, with frozen, withered-looking fingers. She sat 
reading her home letters, which were written in round hand, and 
drinking tea the colour of blood. Next her was Joachim, and then 
Frau Stohr, in a woollen blouse of Scotch plaid. She held her left 
hand doubled up in a fist near her cheek as she ate, and drew her 
upper lip back from her long, narrow, rodent-like teeth when she 
spoke, obviously trying to make an impression of culture and re- 
finement. A young man with thin moustaches sat next beyond. 
His facial expression was of one with something bad-tasting in his 
mouth, and he ate without a word. He had come in after Hans 
Castorp was already seated, with his chin sunk on his breast; and 
sat down so, without even lifting his head in greeting, seeming 
by his bearing plumply to decline being made acquainted with 
the new guest. He was, perhaps, too ill to have thought of or care 
for appearances, or even to take any interest in his surroundings. 
Opposite him there had sat for a short time a very lean, light- 
blonde girl who emptied a bottle of yogurt on her plate, ladled 
it up with a spoon, and took herself off. 

The conversation at table was not lively. Joachim talked po- 
litely with Frau Stohr, inquired after her condition and heard 
with proper solicitude that it was unsatisfactory. She com- 
plained of relaxation. “ I feel so relaxed,” she said with a drawl 
and an underbred, affected manner. And she had had 99. i° when 
she got up that morning — what was she likely to have by after- 
noon? The dressmaker confessed to the same temperature, but 
she on the contrary felt excited, tense, and restless, as though 
some important event were about to happen, which was cer- 
tainly not the case; the excitation was purely physical, quite 
without emotional grounds. Hans Castorp thought to himself that 
she could not be a dressmaker after all; she spoke too correctly, 
even pedantically. He found her excitation, or rather the expres- 
sion of it, somehow unsuitable, almost offensive, in so homely 
and insignificant a creature. He asked her and Frau Stohr, one 
after the other, how long they had been up here, and found that 
one had five, the other seven months to her credit. Then he mus- 
tered his English to inquire of his neighbour on the right what 
sort of tea she was drinking (it was made of rose-hips) and if 
it tasted good, which she almost passionately affirmed; then he 
watched people coming and going in the room; the first break- 



BREAKFAST 45 

fast, it appeared, was not regarded as a regular meal, in any 
strict sense. 

He had been a little afraid of unpleasant impressions, but found 
himself agreeably disappointed. The room was lively, one had 
not the least feeling of being in a place of suffering. Tanned young 
people of both sexes came in humming, spoke to the waitresses, 
and fell to upon the viands with robust appetite. There were older 
people, married couples, a whole family with children, speaking 
Russian, and half-grown lads. The women wore chiefly close- 
fitting jackets of wool or silk — the so-called sweater — in white 
or colours, with turnover collars and side pockets; they would 
stand with hands thrust deep in these pockets, and talk — it looked 
very pretty. At some tables photographs were being handed about 

— amateur photography, no doubt — at another stamps were be- 
ing exchanged. The talk was of the weather, of how one had 
slept, of what one had “ measured in the mouth ” on rising. Nearly 
everybody seemed in good spirits, probably on no other grounds 
than that they were in numerous company and had no immediate 
cares. Here and there, indeed, sat someone who rested his head on 
his hand and stared before him. They let him stare, and paid 
no heed. 

Hans Castorp gave a sudden angry start. A door was slammed 

— it w as the one on the left, leading into the hall, and someone 
had let it fall shut, or even banged it, a thing he detested; he had 
never been able to endure it. Whether from his upbringing, or 
out of a natural idiosyncrasy, he loathed the slamming of doors, 
and could have struck the guilty person. In this case, the door 
was filled m above with small glass panes, which augmented the 
shock w ith their ringing and rattling. “ Oh, come,” he thought 
angrily, “ w hat kind of damned carelessness was that? ” But at the 
same time the seamstress addressed him with a remark, and he 
had no time to see w ho the transgressor had been. Deep creases 
furrowed his blond brow r s, and his face was contorted as he 
turned to reply to his neighbour. 

Joachim asked whether the doctors had come through. Yes, 
someone answered, they had been there once and left the room 
just as the cousins entered. Then it w r ould be better not to wait, 
Joachim thought. An opportunity for introducing his cousin 
would surely come in the course of the day. But at the door they 
nearly ran into Hofrat Behrens, as he entered with hasty steps, 
followed bv Dr. Krokow r ski. 

“ Hullo-ullo there! Take care, gentlemen! That might have 
been rough on all of our corns! ” He spoke with a strong low- 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


46 

Saxon accent, broad and mouthingly. “ Oh, so here you are,” 
he addressed Hans Castorp, whom Joachim, heels together, pre- 
sented. “ Well, glad to see you.” He reached the young man a 
hand the size of a shovel. He was some three heads taller than 
Dr. Krokowski; a bony man, his hair already quite white; his 
neck stuck out, his large, goggling bloodshot blue eyes were 
swimming in tears; he had a snub nose, and a close-trimmed little 
moustache, which made a crooked line because his upper lip 
was drawn up on one side. What Joachim had said about his 
cheeks was fully borne out; they were really purple, and set off 
his head garishly against the white surgeon’s coat he wore, a 
belted smock of more than knee-length, beneath which showed 
striped trousers and a pair of enormous feet in rather worn yellow 
laced boots. Dr. Krokowski too was in professional garb; but 
his smock was of some shiny black stuff and made like a shirt, 
with elastic bands at the wrists. It contrasted sharply with the 
pallor of his skin. His manner suggested that he was present 
solely in his capacity as assistant; he took no part in the greeting, 
but a certain expression at the comers of his mouth betrayed the 
fact that he felt the strain of his subordinate position. 

“ Cousins? ” the Hofrat asked, motioning with his hand from 
one to the other of the two young men and looking at them with 
his bloodshot eyes. “ Is he going to follow the drums like you? ” 
he addressed Joachim, jerking his head at Hans Castorp. “God 
forbid, eh? I could tell as soon as I saw you ” — he spoke now 
directly to the young man — “that you were a layman; there’s 
something civilian and comfortable about you, not like our sabre- 
rattling corporal here! You’d be a better patient than he is, I’ll 
wager. I can tell by looking at people, you know, whether they’ll 
make good patients or not; it takes talent, everything takes talent 
— and this myrmidon here hasn’t a spark. Maybe he shows up 
on the parade-ground, for aught I know; but he’s no good at 
being ill. Will you believe it, he’s always wanting to clear out! 
Badgers me all the time, simply can’t wait to get down there and 
be skinned alive. There’s doggedness for you! Won’t give us even 
a measly half-a-year! And yet it’s quite pretty up here; I leave 
it to you if it isn’t, Ziemssen, what? . . . Well, your cousin will 
appreciate us, even if you don’t. He’ll get some fun out of it. 
There’s no shortage in the lady market here, either; we have the 
most charming females. At least, some of them are very pictur- 
esque on the outside. But you ought to have better colour your- 
self, you know, if you want to please the sex. 4 The golden tree 
of life is green,’ as the poet says — but it’s a poor colour for the 



BANTER 


47 

complexion, all the same. Totally anaemic, of course,” he broke 
off, and without more ado put up his index and middle fingers and 
drew down Hans Castorp’s eyelid. “ Precisely! Totally anaemic, 
as I was saying. You know it wasn’t such a bad idea of yours 
to let your native Hamburg shift for itself awhile. Great insti- 
tution, Hamburg — simply revels in humidity — sends us a tidy 
contingent every year. But if I may take the occasion to give 
you the benefit of my poor opinion — sine pectmia , you under- 
stand, quite sine pecuma — \ would suggest that you do just as 
your cousin does, while you are up here. Y >u couldn’t turn a 
better trick than to behave for the time as though you had 
a slight tuberculosis pidmonwn , and put on a little flesh. It’s curi- 
ous about the metabolism of protein with us up here. Although 
the process of combustion is heightened, yet the body at the same 
time puts on flesh. — Well, Ziemssen, slept pretty well, what? . . . 
Splendid! Then get on with the out-of-doors exercise — but not 
more than half an hour, you hear^ 5 And afterwards stick the quick- 
silver cigar in your face, eh? And be good and write it down, 
Ziemssen! That’s a conscientious lad! Saturday I’ll look at the 
curve. Your cousin better measure too. Measuring can’t hurt any- 
body. Morning, gentlemen. Have a good time — morning — morn- 
ing — ” Krokowski joined him as he sailed off down the hall, 
swinging his arms palms backward, directing to right and left 
the question about sleeping well, which was answered on all sides 
in the affirmative. 

Banter . Viaticum. Interrupted Mirth 

“ Very nice man,” Hans Castorp said, as after a friendly nod to 
the lame concierge, who was sorting letters in his lodge, they 
passed out into the open air. The main entrance was on the 
south-west side of the white building, the central portion of 
which was a storey higher than the wings, and crowned by a 
turret with a roof of slate-coloured tin. You did not issue from 
this side into the hedged-in garden, but were immediately in 
the open, in sight of the steep mountain meadows, dotted with 
single fir-trees of moderate size, and writhen, stunted pines. The 
way they took — it was the only one they could take, outside 
the drive going down to the valley — rose by a gentle ascent to 
the left, behind the sanatorium, past the kitchen and domestic 
offices, where huge dustbins stood at the area rails. Thence it 
led in the same direction for a goodish piece, then made a sharp 
bend to the right and mounted more rapidly along the thinly 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


48 

wooded slopes. It was a reddish path, firm and yet rather moist 
underfoot, with boulders here and there along the edge. The 
cousins were by no means alone upon it: guests who had finished 
breakfast not long after them followed hard upon their steps, 
and groups of others, already returning, approached with the 
stalking gait of people descending a steep incline. 

“ Very nice man,” repeated Hans Castorp. “ He has such a 
flow of words I enjoy listening to him. ‘ Quicksilver cigar ’ was 
capital, I got it at once. — But I’ll just light up a real one,” he 
said, pausing, “ I can’t hold out any longer. I haven’t had a proper 
smoke since yesterday after luncheon. Excuse me a minute.” 
He opened his automobile-leather case, with its silver monogram, 
and drew out a Maria Mancini, a beautiful specimen of the first 
layer, flattened on one side as he particularly liked it; he cut off 
the tip slantingly with a sharp little tool he wore on his watch- 
chain, then, striking a tiny flame with his pocket apparatus, puffed 
with concentration at the long, blunt-ended cigar until it was 
alight. “ There! ” he said. “ Now, as far as I’m concerned, we can 
get on with the exercise. You don’t smoke — out of sheer dog- 
gedness, of course.” 

“ I never do smoke,” answered Joachim; “ why should I begin 
up here? ” 

“ I don’t understand it,” Hans Castorp said. “ I never can under- 
stand how anybody can not smoke — it deprives a man of the 
best part of life, so to speak — or at least of a first-class pleasure. 
When I wake in the morning, I feel glad at the thought of being 
able to smoke all day, and when I eat, I look forward to smoking 
afterwards; I might almost say I only eat for the sake of being 
able to smoke — though of course that is more or less of an ex- 
aggeration. But a day without tobacco would be flat, stale, and 
unprofitable, as far as I am concerned. If I had to say to myself 
to-morrow: ‘ No smoke to-day ’ — I believe I shouldn’t find the 
courage to get up — on my honour, I’d stop in bed. But when a 
man has a good cigar in his mouth — of course it mustn’t have a 
side draught or not draw well, that is extremely irritating — but 
with a good cigar in his mouth a man is perfectly safe, nothing 
can touch him — literally. It’s just like lying on the beach: when 
you lie on the beach, why, you lie on the beach, don’t you 2 — you 
don’t require anything else, in the line of work or amusement 
either. — People smoke all over the world, thank goodness; there 
is nowhere one could get to, so far as I know, where the habit 
hasn’t penetrated. Even polar expeditions fit themselves out with 
supplies of tobacco to help them carry on. I’ve always felt a thrill 



BANTER 


49 

of sympathy when I read that. You can be very miserable: I 
might be feeling perfectly wretched, for instance; but I could 
always stand it if I had my smoke.” 

“ But after all,” Joachim said, “ it is rather flabby-minded of 
vou to be so dependent on it. Behrens is right, you are certainly 
a civilian. He meant it for a sort of compliment, I dare say; but 
the truth is, you are a civilian — incurable. But then, you are 
healthy, you can do what you like,” he added, and his eyes took 
on their tired look. 

“Yes, healthy except for the anaemia,” said Hans Castorp. 
“ That was certainly straight from the shoulder, his telling me 
I look green. But it is true — I’ve noticed myself that I look green 
in comparison with the rest of you up here, though it never 
struck me down home. And it was nice of him to give me advice 
gratis like that — 4 sine pecunia as he put it. I'll gladly undertake 
to do as he says, and live just as you do. After all, how else should 
I do while I’m up here? And it can’t do me any harm; suppose I 
do put on a little flesh, then, in God's name — though it sounds a 
bit disgusting, you will admit.” 

Joachim coughed slightly now and then as they walked, it 
seemed to strain him to go uphill. When he did so for the third 
time, he paused and stood still with a frown “ Go on ahead,” 
he said. Hans Castorp hastened to do so, without looking round. 
Then he slackened his pace, and finally almost stopped, as it 
seemed to him he must have got a good distance ahead or Joachim, 
But he did not look round. 

A troop of guests of both sexes approached him. He had seen 
them coming along the level path half-way up the slope; now they 
were stalking downhill directly towards him; he heard their 
voices. They were six or seven persons of various ages: some in 
the bloom of youth, others rather older. He took a good look at 
them, from the side, as he walked with bent head, thinking about 
Joachim. They were tanned and bare-headed, the women in 
sweaters, the men mostly without overcoats or even walking- 
sticks, all of them like people who have just gone casually out 
for a turn in the open. Going downhill involves no sustained 
muscular effort, only an agreeable process of putting on the brakes 
in order not to finish by running and tripping head over heels; 
it is really nothing more than just letting yourself go; and thus 
the gait of these people had something loose- jointed and flighty 
about it, which communicated itself to the appearance of the 
whole group and made one almost wish to be of their lively party. 

They came close up to him, he saw their faces clearly. No. 



THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


50 

they were not all brown: two of the ladies were, on the contrary, 
distinctly pale; one of them thin as a lath, and ivory-white of 
complexion, the other shorter and plump, disfigured by freckles. 
They all looked at him, smiling rather boldly. A tall young girl 
in a green sweater, with untidy hair and foolish, half -open eyes, 
brushed past Hans Castorp, nearly touching him with her arm. 
And as she did so she ^whistled — oh, impossible! Yes, she did 
though; not with her mouth, indeed, for she did not pucker the 
lips, but held them firmly closed. She whistled from somewhere 
inside, and looked at him with her silly, half-shut eyes — it was 
an extraordinarily unpleasant whistle, harsh and penetrating, yet 
hollow-sounding; a long-drawn-out note, falling at the end, like 
the sound made by those rubber pigs one buys at fairs, that give 
out the air in a wailing key as they collapse. The sound issued, 
inexplicably, from her breast — and then, with her troop, she 
had passed on. 

Hans Castorp stood and stared. In a moment he turned round, 
understanding at least so much, that the atrocious thing must 
have been a joke, a put-up job; for he saw over his shoulder that 
they were laughing as they went, that a stodgy, thick-lipped 
youth, whose coat was turned up in an unseemly way about him 
so that he could put both hands in his trouser pockets, turned 
his head and laughed quite openly. Joachim approached. He had 
greeted the group with his usual punctiliousness, almost pausing, 
and bowing with heels together; now he came mildly up to his 
cousin. 

“ Why are you making such a face? ” he asked. 

“ She whistled,” answered Hans Castorp. “ She whistled out 
of her inside as she passed. Will you have the goodness to ex- 
plain to me how? ” 

“ Oh! ” Joachim said, and laughed curtly. “ Nonsense, she 
didn’t do it with her inside. That was Hermine Kleefeld, she 
whistles with her pneumothorax.” 

“ With her what? ” Hans Castorp demanded. He felt wrought 
up, without knowing why. His voice was between laughter and 
tears as he added: “ You can’t expect me to understand your 
lingo.” 

“ Oh, come along,” Joachim said. “ I can explain it to you as 
we go. You looked rooted to the spot! It’s a surgical operation, 
they often perform it up here. Behrens is a regular dab at it. 
When one of the lungs is very much affected, you understand, 
and the other one fairly healthy, they make the bad one stop 
functioning for a while, to give it a rest. That is to say, they 



BANTER 


5 1 

make an incision here, somewhere on the side, I don’t know the 
precise place, but Behrens has it down fine. Then they fill you 
up with gas — nitrogen, you know — and that puts the cheesy part 
of the lung out of operation. The gas doesn’t last long, of course; 
it has to be renewed every two weeks; they till you up again, 
as it were. Now, if that keeps on a year or two. and all goes well, 
the lung gets healed. Not always, of course; it’s a risky business. 
But they say they have had a good deal of success with it. Those 
people you saw" just now all have it. That was Frau litis, with the 
freckles, and the thin, pale one was Fraulein Levi, that had to lie 
so long in bed, you know. They have formed a group, for of 
course a thing like the pneumothorax brings people together. 
They call themselves the Half-Lung Club; everybody knows 
them by that name. And Hermine Kleefeld is the pride of the 
club, because she can whistle with hers. It is a special gift, by no 
means everybody can do it. I can’t tell you how it is done, and 
she herself can’t exactly describe it. But when she has been walk- 
ing rather fast, she can make it whistle, and of course she does it 
to frighten people, especially when they are new to the place. 
Also, I believe she uses up nitrogen when she does it, for she has 
to be refilled once a week. 

Then it was that Hans Castorp laughed. His excitement, while 
Joachim was speaking, had fixed for its outlet upon laughter 
rather than tears; and he laughed as he walked, his hand over 
his eyes, his shoulders bent, shaken by a succession of subdued 
chuckles. 

“ Are they incorporated? ” he asked as soon as he could 
speak. His voice sounded weak and tearful with suppressed 
laughter. “ Have they any by-laws? Pity you aren’t a member, 
you could get me in as a guest, as — as associate half-lunger. — 
You ought to ask Behrens to put you out of commission, then 
perhaps you could learn to whistle too; it must be something 
one could learn — well, that’s the funniest thing ever I heard in 
my life! ” he finished, heaving a deep sigh. “ I beg your pardon 
for speaking of it like this, but they seem very jolly over it them- 
selves, your pneumatic friends. The way they were coming along 
— and to think that was the Half-Lung Club. Tootle-ty-too, she 
went at me — she must be out of her senses! It was utter cheek — 
will you tell me why they behave so cheekily? ” 

Joachim sought for a reply. “ Good Lord,” he said, “ they are 
so free — I mean, they are so young, and time is nothing to them, 
and then they may die — perhaps — why should they make a long 
face? Sometimes I think being ill and dying aren’t serious at all 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


52 

just a sort of loafing about and wasting time; life is only serious 
down below. You will get to understand that after a while, but 
not until you have spent some time up here.” 

“ Surely, surely,” Hans Castorp said. “ I’m sure I shall. I al- 
ready feel great interest in the life up here, and when one is 
interested, the understanding follows. — But what is the matter 
with me — it doesn’t taste good,” he said, and took his cigar out of 
his mouth to look at it. “ I’ve been asking myself all this time 
what the matter was, and now I see it is Maria. She tastes like 
papier mache, I do assure you — precisely as when one has a 
spoilt digestion. I can’t understand it. I did eat more than usual 
for breakfast, but that cannot be the reason, for she usually tastes 
particularly good after a too hearty meal. Do you think it is be- 
cause I had such a disturbed night? Perhaps that is how I got 
out of order. No, I really can’t stick it,” he said, after another 
attempt. “ Every pull is a disappointment, there is no sense in 
forcing it.” And after a hesitating moment he tossed the cigar off 
down the slope, among the wet pine-boughs. “Do you know 
what I think it has to do with? ” he asked. “ I feel convinced it 
is connected with this damned heat I feel all the time in my face. 
I have suffered from it ever since I got up. I feel as though I were 
blushing the whole time, deuce take it! Did you have anything 
like that when you first came? ” 

“ Yes,” said Joachim. “ I was rather queer at first. Don’t think 
too much of it. I told you it isn’t so easy to accustom oneself to 
the life up here. But you will get right again after a bit. Look, that 
bench is in a pretty place. Let’s sit down awhile and then go 
home. I must take my cure.” 

The path had become level. It ran now in the direction of 
Davos-Platz, some third of the height, and kept a continuous 
view, between high, sparse, wind-blown pines, of the settlement 
below, gleaming whitely in the bright air. The bench on which 
they sat leaned against the steep wall of the mountain-side, and 
near them a spring in an open wooden trough ran gurgling and 
plashing to the valley. 

Joachim was for instructing his cousin in the names of the 
mist-wreathed Alpine heights which seemed to enclose the valley 
on the south, pointing them out in turn with his alpenstock. But 
Hans Castorp gave the mountains only a fleeting glance. He 
sat bent over, tracing figures on the ground with the ferrule of 
his cityish silver-mounted walking-stick. There were other things 
he wanted to know. 

“ What I meant to ask you,” he began, “ the case in my room 



BANTER 53 

had died just before I got here; have there been many deaths 
since you came? ” 

“ Several, certainly,” answered Joachim. “ But they are very 
discreetlv managed, you understand; you hear nothing of them, 
or only by chance afterwards; everything is kept strictly private 
when there is a death, out of regard for the other patients, espe- 
cially the ladies, who might easily get a shock. You don’t notice 
it, even when somebody dies next door. The coffin is brought 
very early in the morning, while you are asleep, and the person 
in question is fetched away at a suitable time t< >o — for instance, 
while we are eating.” 

“ H’m,” said Hans Castorp, and continued to draw. “ I see. 
That sort of thing goes on behind the scenes, then.” 

“ Yes — for the most part. But lately — let me see, wait a minute, 
it might be possibly eight weeks ago — ” 

“ Then you can hardly say lately,” Hans Castorp pounced 
on him crisply. 

“ What? Well, not lately, then, since you’re so precise. I was 
just trying to reckon. Well, then, some time ago, it was, I got 
a glimpse behind the scenes — purely by chance — and I remem- 
ber it as if it were yesterday. It was when they brought the 
Sacrament to little Hujus, Barbara Hujus — she was a Catholic — 
the Last Sacrament, you know, Extreme Unction. She was still 
about when I first came up here, and she could be wildly hilar- 
ious, regularly giggly, like a little kid. But after that it went 
pretty fast with her, she didn’t get up any more — her room was 
three doors off mine — and then her parents arrived, and now 
the priest was coming to her. It was while everybody was at tea, 
not a soul in the passages. But I had gone to sleep in the after- 
noon rest and overslept myself, I hadn’t heard the gong and was 
a quarter of an hour late. So that at the decisive moment I wasn’t 
where all the others were, but behind the scenes, as you call it; 
as I go along the corridor, they come toward me, in their lace 
robes, with the cross in front, a gold cross with lanterns — it made 
me think of the Schellenbaum they march with, in front of the 
recruits.” 

“ What sort of comparison is that 5 ” Hans Castorp asked, 
severely. 

“ It looked like that to me — I couldn’t help thinking of it. 
But listen. They came towards me, marching, quick step, three 
of them, so far as I remember: the man with the cross, the priest, 
with glasses on his nose, and a boy with a censer. The priest was 
holding the Sacrament to his breast, it was covered up, and he had 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


54 

his head bent on one side and looked very sanctified — it is their 
holy of holies, of course.” 

“ Exactly,” Hans Castorp said. “ And just for that reason I 
wonder at your making the comparison you did.” 

“Yes, but wait a bit — if you had been there, you wouldn’t 
have known what kind of face you would make remembering it 
afterwards. It was the sort of thing to give you bad dreams — ” 

“ How? ” 

“ Like this: I ask myself how I am supposed to behave, under 
the circumstances. I had no hat to take off — ” 

“ There, you see, don’t you? ” Hans Castorp interrupted him 
again. “ You see now, one ought to wear a hat. Naturally I’ve 
noticed that none of you do up here; but you should, so you 
can have something to take off when it is proper to do so. Well, 
but what then? ” 

“ I stood against the wall,” Joachim went on, “ as respectfully 
as I could, and bent over a little when they were by me — it was 
just at little Hu jus’s door, number twenty-eight. The priest 
seemed to be pleased that I saluted; he acknowledged very courte- 
ously and took off his cap. But at the same time they came to a 
stop, and the ministrant with the censer knocks, and lifts the latch, 
and makes way for his superior to enter. Just try to imagine my 
sensations, and how frightened I was! The minute the priest sets 
his foot over the threshold, there begins a hullabaloo from inside, 
a screaming such as you never heard the like of, three or four 
times running, and then a shriek — on and on without stopping, 
at the top of her lungs: Ah-h-h-h! So full of horror and rebellion, 
and anguish, and — well, perfectly indescribable. And in between 
came a gruesome sort of begging. Then it suddenly got all dulled 
and hollow-sounding, as though it had sunk down into the earth, 
or were coming out of a cellar.” 

Hans Castorp had turned with violence to face his cousin. 
“ Was that the Hujus? ” he asked abruptly. “ And how do you 
mean — out of a cellar 5 ” 

“ She had crawled down under the covers,” said Joachim. “ Im- 
agine how I felt! The priest stood on the threshold and spoke sooth- 
ingly, I can see now just how he stuck his head out and drew 
it back again while he talked. The cross-bearer and the acolyte 
hesitated, and couldn’t get in. I could see between them into the 
room. It was just like yours and mine, the bed on the side wall 
left of the door, and people were standing at the head, the rela- 
tives of course, the parents, talking soothingly at the bed, where 


BANTER 55 

you could see nothing but a formless mass that was begging and 
protesting horribly, and kicking about with its legs.” 

“ You say she kicked? ” 

“ With all her might. But it did her no good, she had to take 
the Sacrament. The priest went up to her, and the two others 
went inside the room, and the door closed. But first I saw little 
Hujus's head come up for a second, a shock of blond hair, and 
look at the priest with staring eyes, that were without any colour, 
and then with a w ail go down under the sheet again.” 

“ And you tell me all that now for the first time^ ” Hans Castorp 
said, after a pause. “ I can't understand how you came not to 
speak of it yesterday evening. But, good Lord, she must have 
had strength, to defend herself like that. That takes strength. 
They ought not to fetch the priest before one is quite weak.” 

“ She was weak,” responded Joachim. — “ Oh, there’s so much 
to tell, one doesn’t have time to pick and choose. She was weak 
enough! It was only the fright gave her so much strength. She was 
in a fearful state when she saw she was going to die; and she was 
such a young girl, it was excusable, after all. But grown men 
behave like that too, sometimes, and it's deplorably feeble of 
them, of course. "Likens knows how to treat them, he takes 
just the right tone m such cases.” 

” What kind of tone? ” Hans Castorp asked with drawn brows. 

“ ‘ Don’t behave rke that,’ he tells them,” Joachim answered. 
“ At least, that is wUat he told somebody lately — we heard it from 
the Directress, w*v y.\is present and helped to hold the man. 
He was one of those who make a regular scene at the end, and 
simply won't die. So Behrens brought him up with a round turn: 
‘ Do me the favour not to behave like that,’ he said to him; and the 
patient became quite calm and died as quietly as you please.'’ 

Hans Castorp slapped his thigh and threw himself back against 
the bench, looking up at the sky. 

“ I say, that’s pretty steep,” he cried. “ Goes at him like that, 
and simply tells him not to behave that way! To a dying man! 
But after all, a dying man has something in a way — sacred about 
him. One can’t just — perfectly coolly, like that — a dying man 
is sort of holy, I should think! ” 

u I don’t deny it,” said Joachim. “ But when one behaves as 
feebly as that — ” 

“ No," persisted Hans Castorp, with a violence out of propor- 
tion to the opposition he met, “ l insist that a dying man is above 
any chap that is going about and laughing and earning his living 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


56 

and eating his three meals a day. It isn’t good enough — ” his voice 
quavered “—it isn’t good enough, for one to calmly — just 
calmly — ” his words trailed off in a fit of laughter that seized 
and overcame him, the laughter of yesterday, a profound, illimita- 
ble, body-shaking laughter, that shut up his eyes and made tears 
well from beneath their lids. 

“ Sh-h! ” went Joachim, suddenly. “ Keep quiet,” he whis- 
pered, and nudged his uncontrollably hilarious cousin in the side. 
Hans Castorp looked up through tears. 

A stranger was approaching them from the left, a dark man of 
graceful carriage, with curling black moustaches, wearing light- 
coloured check trousers. He exchanged a good-morning with 
Joachim in accents agreeable and precise, and then remained 
standing before them in an easy posture, leaning on his cane, with 
his legs crossed. 

Satana 

His age would have been hard to say, probably between thirty 
and forty; for though he gave an impression of youthfulness, yet 
the hair on his temples was sprinkled with silver and gone quite 
thin on his head. Two bald bays ran along the narrow scanty 
parting, and added to the height of his forehead. His clothing, 
loose trousers in light yellowish checks, and too long, double- 
breasted pilot coat, with very wide lapels, made no slightest claim 
to elegance; and his stand-up collar, with rounding corners, was 
rough on the edges from frequent washing. His black cravat 
showed wear, and he wore no cuffs, as Hans Castorp saw at once 
from the lax way the sleeve hung round the wrist. But despite all 
that, he knew he had a gentleman before him: the stranger’s easy, 
even charming pose and cultured expression left no doubt of that. 
Yet by this mingling of shabbiness and grace, by the black eyes 
and softly waving moustaches, Hans Castorp was irresistibly re- 
minded of certain foreign musicians who used to come to Ham- 
burg at Christmas to play in the streets before people’s doors. 
He could see them rolling up their velvet eyes and holding 
out their soft hats for the coins tossed from the windows. “ A 
hand-organ man,” he thought. Thus he was not surprised at the 
name he heard, as Joachim rose from the bench and in some em- 
barrassment presented him: “ My cousin Castorp, Herr Settem- 
brini.” 

Hans Castorp had got up at the same time, the traces of his 
burst of hilarity still on his face. But the Italian courteously bade 
them both not to disturb themselves, and made them sit down 



SATANA 


57 

again, while he maintained his easy pose before them. He smiled, 
standing there and looking at the cousins, in particular at Hans 
Castorp; a smile that was a line, almost mocking deepening and 
crisping of one comer of the mouth, just at the point where the 
full moustache made its beautiful upward curve. It had upon the 
cousins a singular effect: it somehow constrained them to mental 
alertness and clarity; it sobered the reeling Hans Castorp in a 
twinkling, and made him ashamed. 

Settembrini said: “ You are in good spirits — and with reason 
too, with excellent reason. What a splendid morning! A blue sky, 
a smiling sun ” — with an easy, adequate motion of the arm he 
raised a small, yellowish-skinned hand to the heavens, and sent 
a lively glance upward after it — “ one could almost forget where 
one is.” 

He spoke without accent, only the precise enunciation be- 
trayed the foreigner. His lips seemed to take a certain pleasure 
in forming the words, it was most agreeable to hear him. 

“You had a pleasant journey hither, I hope 5 ” he turned to 
Hans Castorp. “ And do you already know your fate — I mean 
has the mournful ceremony of the first examination taken place? ” 
Here, if he had really been expecting a reply he should have 
paused; he had put his question, and Hans Castorp prepared to 
answer. But he went on: u Did you get off easily 5 One might 
put — ” here he paused a second, and the crisping at the corner of 
his mouth grew crisper — “ more than one interpretation upon 
your laughter. How many months have our Minos and Rhada- 
manthus knocked you down for 5 ” The slang phrase sounded 
droll on his lips. “Shall I guess 5 Six? Nine? You know we are 
free with the time up here — ” 

Hans Castorp laughed, astonished, at the same rime racking his 
brains to remember who Minos and Rhadamanthus were. He 
answered: “Not at all — no, really, you are under a misappre- 
hension, Herr Septem — ” 

“ Settembrini,” corrected the Italian, clearly and with empha- 
sis, making as he spoke a mocking bow. 

“ Herr Settembrini — I beg your pardon. No, you are mistaken. 
Really I am not ill. I have only come on a visit to my cousin 
Ziemssen for a few weeks, and shall take advantage of the oppor- 
tunity to get a good rest — ” 

“Zounds! You don’t say? Then you are not one of us? You 
are well, you are but a guest here, like Odysseus in the kingdom 
of the shades 5 You are bold indeed, thus to descend into these 
depths peopled by the vacant and idle dead — ” 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


58 

“ Descend, Herr Settembrini? I protest. Here I have climbed 
up some five thousand feet to get here — ” 

“ That was only seeming. Upon my honour, it was an illusion,’* 
the Italian said, with a decisive wave of the hand. “We are sunk 
enough here, aren’t we, Lieutenant? ” he said to Joachim, who, 
no little gratified at this method of address, thought to hide his 
satisfaction, and answered reflectively: 

“ I suppose we do get rather one-sided. But we can pull our- 
selves together, afterwards, if we try.” 

“ At least, you can, Im sure — you are an upright man,” Set- 
tembrini said. “Yes, yes, yes,” he said, repeating the word three 
times, with a sharp s , turning to Hans Castorp again as he spoke, 
and then, in the same measured way, clucking three times with 
his tongue against his palate. “ I see, I see, I see,” he said again, 
giving the 5 the same sharp sound as before. He looked the new- 
comer so steadfastly in the face that his eyes grew fixed in a 
stare; then, becoming lively again, he went on: “ So you come 
up quite of your own free will to us sunken ones, and mean to 
bestow upon us the pleasure of your company for some little 
while? That is delightful. And what term had you thought of 
putting to your stay? I don’t mean precisely. I am merely inter- 
ested to know what the length of a man’s sojourn would be when 
it is himself and not Rhadamanthus who prescribes the limit.” 

“Three weeks,” Hans Castorp said, rather pridefully, as he 
saw himself the object of envy. 

“ O dio! Three weeks! Do you hear, Lieutenant? Does it not 
sound to you impertinent to hear a person say: ‘ I am stopping for 
three weeks and then I am going away again ’? We up here are not 
acquainted with such an unit of time as the week — if I may be 
permitted to instruct you, my dear sir. Our smallest unit is the 
month. We reckon in the grand style — that is a privilege we 
shadows have. We possess other such; they are all of the same 
quality. May I ask what profession you practise down below : 
Or, more probably, for what profession are you preparing your- 
self? You see we set no bounds to our thirst for information - 
curiosity is another of the prescriptive rights of shadows.” 

“ Pray don’t mention it,” said Hans Castorp. And told him. 

“ A ship-builder! Magnificent! ” cried Settembrini. “ I assure 
you, I find that magnificent — though my own talents lie in quite 
another direction .” 

“ Herr Settembrini is a literary man,” Joachim explained, 
rather self-consciously. “ He wrote the obituary notices of Car- 
ducci for the German papers — Carducci, you know.” He got 


SATANA 


59 

more self-conscious still, for his cousin looked at him in amaze- 
ment, as though to say: u Carducci? What do you know about 
him : Not any more than I do. I'll wager.” 

“ Yes,” the Italian said, nodding. “ I had the honour of tell- 
ing your countrymen the story of our great poet and free- 
thinker, when his life had drawn to a close. I knew him, I can 
count myself among his pupils. I sat at his feet in Bologna. 1 may 
thank him for what culture I can call my own — and for what 
joyousness of life as well. But we were speaking of you. A ship- 
builder! Do you know you have sensibly risen in my estimation? 
You represent now, in my eyes, the world of labour and practi- 
cal genius.” 

“ Herr Settembrini, I am only a student as yet, I am just 
beginning.” 

“ Certainly. It is the beginning that is hard. But all work is hard, 
isn’t it, that deserves the name 5 ” 

“That’s true enough, God knows — or the Devil does,” Hans 
Castorp said, and the words came from his heart. 

Settembnni’s eyebrows went up. 

“ Oh,” he said, “ so you call on the Devil to witness that senti- 
ment— the Devil incarnate, Satan himself? Did you know that 
my great master wrote a hymn to him 5 ” 

“ I beg your pardon,” Hans Castorp said, “ a hymn to the 
Devil? ” 

“ The very Devil himself, and no other. It is sometimes sung, 
in my native land, on festal occasions. ‘ O salute , O Satctna, O 
ribelliane , O forza vindice della ragioiie! . . .’ It is a magnificent 
song. But it was hardly Carducci's Devil you had in mind when 
you spoke; for he is on the very best of terms with hard work; 
whereas yours, who is afraid of work and hates it like poison, is 
probably the same of whom we are told that we may not hold 
out even the little finger to him.” 

All this was making the very oddest impression on our good 
Hans Castorp. He knew no Italian, and the rest of it sounded no 
less uncomfortable, and reminded him of Sunday sermons, though 
delivered quite casually, in a light, even jesting tone. He looked 
it his cousin, who kept his eyes cast down; then he said: “You 
lake my w^ords far too literally, Herr Settembrini. When I spoke 
>f the Devil, it was just a manner of speaking, I assure you.” 

“ Somebody must have some esprit ” Settembrini said, looking 
traight ahead, with a melancholy air. Then recovering himself, 
ie skilfully got back to their former subject, and went on 
dithely: “ At all events, I am probably right in concluding from 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


)0 

four words that the calling you have embraced is as strenuous as 
t is honourable. As for myself, I am a humanist, a homo hurmmts. 
\ have no mechanical ingenuity, however sincere my respect for 
t. But I can w r ell understand that the theory of your craft re- 
quires a clear and keen mind, and its practice not less than the 
entire man. Am I right? ” 

“ You certainly are, I can go all the way with you there,” Hans 
Castorp answered. Unconsciously he made an effort to reply with 
eloquence. “ The demands made to-day on a man in my profession 
are simply enormous. It is better not to have too clear an idea 
of their magnitude, it might take away one’s courage: no, it’s no 
joke. And if one isn’t the strongest in the world — It is true that 
I am here only on a visit, but I am not very robust, and I cannot 
with truth assert that my work agrees with me so wonderfully 
well. It would be a great deal truer to say that it rather takes it 
out of me. I only feel really fit when I am doing nothing at all.” 

“ As now, for example 5 ” 

“Now 5 Oh, now I am so new up here, I am still rather be- 
wildered — you can imagine.” 

“ Ah — bewildered.” 

“ Yes, and I did not sleep so very well, and the early breakfast 
was really too solid. — I am accustomed to a fair breakfast, but 
this w r as a little too rich for my blood, as the saying goes. In 
short, 1 feel a sense of oppression — and for some reason or other, 
my cigar this morning hasn’t the right taste, something that as 
good as never happens to me, or only when I am seriously upset — 
and to-day it is like leather. I had to throw it away, there was no 
use forcing it. Are you a smoker, may I ask 5 No 5 Then you cannot 
imagine the annoyance and disappointment it is for anyone like 
me, w 7 ho have smoked from my youth up, and taken such pleasure 
in it.” 

“ I am without experience in the field,” Settembrini answered, 
“ but I find that my lack of it is in no poor company. So many 
fine, self-denying spirits have refrained. Carducci had no use for 
the practice. But you will find our Rhadamanthus a kindred spirit. 
He is a devotee of your vice.” 

“ Vice, Herr Settembrini 5 ” 

“Why not 5 One must call things by their right names; life 
is enriched and ennobled thereby. I too have my vices.” 

“ So Hofrat Behrens is a connoisseur 5 A charming man.” 

“ You find him so 5 Then you have already made his acquaint- 
ance? ” 

“ Yes, just now, as we came out. It was almost like a profes- 




62 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


ugliness. Malice, my dear sir, is the animating spirit of criticism; 
and criticism is the beginning of progress and enlightenment.” 
And he began to talk about Petrarch, whom he called the father 
of the modern spirit. 

“ I think,” Joachim said thoughtfully, “ that we ought to be 
going to lie down.” 

The man of letters had been speaking to an accompaniment of 
graceful gestures, one of which he now rounded off in Joachim’s 
direction and said: “ Our lieutenant presses on to the service. Let 
us go together, our way is the same: the 1 path on the right that 
shall lead to the halls of the mightiest Dis 5 — ah, Virgil, Virgil! 
He is unsurpassable. I am a believer in progress, certainly, gentle- 
men; but Virgil — he has a command of epithet no modern can 
approach.” And on their homeward path he recited Latin verse 
with an Italian pronunciation; interrupting himself, however, 
as he saw coming towards them a young girl — a girl of the vil- 
lage, as it seemed, and by no means remarkable for her looks — 
whom he laid himself out to smile at and ogle most killingly: “ O 
la, la, sweet, sweet, sweet! ” he chirruped. “ Pretty, pretty, pretty! 

* Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty,’ ” he quoted as they 
passed, and kissed his hand at the poor girl’s embarrassed back. 

“ What a windbag it is,” Hans Castorp thought. He remained 
of that opinion still, after the Italian had recovered from his 
attack of gallantry and begun to scoff again. His animadversions 
were chiefly directed upon Herr Hofrat Behrens: he jeered at the 
size of his feet, and at the title he had received from a certain 
prince who suffered from tuberculosis of the brain. Of the scan- 
dalous courses of that royal personage the whole neighbourhood 
still talked; but Rhadamanthus had shut his eye — both eyes, in 
fact — and behaved every inch a Hofrat. Did the gentlemen know 
that he — the Hofrat — had invented the summer season? He it 
was, and no other. One must give the devil his due. There had 
been a time w T hen only the faithfullest of the faithful had spent 
the summer in the high valley. Then our humourist, with his 
unerring eye, had perceived that this neglect was simply the re- 
sult of unfortunate prejudice. He got up the idea that, so far at 
least as his own sanatorium was concerned, the summer cure was 
not only not less to be recommended than the winter one, it was, 
on the contrary, of great value, really quite indispensable. And 
he knew how to get this theory put about, to have it come to 
people’s ears; he wrote articles on the subject and launched them 
in the press — since when the summer season had been as flourish- 
ing as the winter one. 



SATANA 


63 

“ Genius! ” said Settembrini. “ In-tu-ition! ” He went on to 
criticize the proprietors of ail the other sanatoria m the place, 
praising their acquisitive talents with mordant sarcasm. There 
was Professor Kafka. Every year, at the critical moment, when 
the snow began to melt, and several patients were asking leave 
to depart, he would suddenly find himself obliged to be away 
for a week, and promise to take up all requests on his return. 
Then he would stop away for six weeks, while the poor wretches 
waited for him, and while, incidentally, their bills continued to 
mount. Kafka was once sent for to go to Fiume for a consulta- 
tion, but he would not go until he was guaranteed five thousand 
good Swiss francs; and thus two weeks were lost in pourparlers. 
Then he went; but the day after the arrival of the great man, the 
patient died. Dr. Salzmann asserted that Kafka did not keep his 
hypodermic syringes clean, and his patients got infected one from 
the other. He also said he wore rubber soles, that his dead might 
not hear him. On the other hand, Kafka told it about that Dr. 
Salzmann’s patients were encouraged to drink so much of the 
fruit of the vine — for the benefit of Dr. Salzmann’s pocket-book 
— that they died off like flies, not of phthisis but cirrhosis of 
the liver. 

Thus he went on, Hans Castorp laughing with good-natured 
enjoyment at this glib and prolific stream of slander. It was, in- 
deed, great fun to listen to, so eloquent was it, so precisely ren- 
dered, so free from every trace of dialect. The words came, 
round, clear-cut, and as though newly minted, from his mobile 
lips, he tasted his own well-turned, dexterous, biting phrases with 
obvious and contagious relish, and seemed to be far too clear- 
headed and self-possessed ever to mis-speak. 

‘‘You have such an amusing way of talking, Herr Settem- 
brini,” Hans Castorp said. “ So lively, so — I don’t quite know 
how to characterize it.” 

“ Plastic? ” responded the Italian, and fanned himself with 
his handkerchief, though it was far from warm. “ That is proba- 
bly the word you seek. You mean I have a plastic way of speaking. 
But look! ” he cried, “ what do my eyes behold? The judges of 
our infernal regions! What a sight! ” 

The walkers had already put behind them the turn in the path. 
Whether thanks to Settembrini’s conversation, the fact that they 
were walking downhill, or merely that they were much nearer 
the sanatorium than Hans Castorp had thought — for a path is 
always longer the first time we traverse it — at all events, the 
return had been accomplished in a surprisingly short time. Settem- 



THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


64 

brini was right, it was the two physicians who were walking along 
the free space at the back of the building; the Hofrat ahead, in 
his white smock, his neck stuck out and his hands moving like 
oars; on his heels the black-shirted Dr. Krokowski, who looked 
the more self-conscious that medical etiquette constrained him 
to walk behind his chief when they made their rounds together. 

“ Ah, Krokowski,” Settembrini cried. “ There he goes — he 
who knows all the secrets in the bosoms of our ladies — pray ob- 
serve the delicate symbolism of his attire: he wears black to indi- 
cate that his proper field of study is the night. The man has but 
one idea in his head, and that a smutty one. How does it happen, 
Engineer, that we have not spoken of him until now? You have 
made his acquaintance? ” 

Hans Castorp answered in the affirmative. 

“ WelP I am beginning to suspect that you like him, too.” 

“ I don’t know, really, Herr Settembrini. I’ve seen him only 
casually. And I am not very quick in my judgments. I am in- 
clined to look at people and say: ‘ So that’s you, is it? Very 
good.’ ” 

“ That is apathetic of you. You should judge — to that end you 
have been given your eyes and your understanding. You felt that 
I spoke maliciously, just now. If I did, perhaps it was not without 
intent to teach. We humanists have all of us a pedagogic itch. Hu- 
manism and schoolmasters — there is a historical connexion be- 
tween them, and it rests upon psychological fact: the office of 
schoolmaster should not - cannot - be taken from the humanist, 
for the tradition of the beauty and dignity of man rests in his 
hands. The priest, who in troubled and inhuman times arrogated 
to himself the office of guide to youth, has been dismissed; since 
when, my dear sirs, no special type of teacher has arisen. The 
humanistic grammar-school - you may call me reactionary, En- 
gineer, but in abstracto^ generally speaking, you understand, 1 
remain an adherent — ” 

He continued in the lift to expatiate upon this theme, and left 
off only when the cousins got out as the second storey was 
reached. He himself went up to the third, where he had, Joachim 
said, a little back room. 

“ hasn’t much money, I suppose,” Hans Castorp said, enter- 
ing Joachim’s room, which looked precisely like his own. 

“ No, I suppose not,” Joachim answered, “ or only so much 
as just makes his stay possible. His father was a literary man too, 
you know, and, I believe, his grandfather as well.” 

“ Yes, of course,” Hans Castorp said. “ Is he seriously ill? ” 



MENTAL GYMNASTIC 


65 

“ Not dangerously, so far as I know, but obstinate, keeps com- 
ing back. He has had it for years, and goes away in between, but 
soon has to return again.” 

“ Poor chap! So frightfully keen on work as he seems to be! 
Enormously chatty, goes from one thing to another so easily. 
Rather objectionable, though, it seemed to me, with that girl. 

I was quite put off, for the moment. But when he talked about 
human dignity, afterwards, I thought it was great — sounded like 
an address. Do you see much of him? ” 

Mental Gymnastic 

Joachim’s reply came impeded and incoherent. He had taken a 
small thermometer from a red leather, velvet-lined case on his 
table, and put the mercury-filled end under his tongue on the 
left side, so that the glass instrument stuck slantingly upwards out 
of his mouth. Then he changed into indoor clothes, put on shoes 
and a braided jacket, took a printed form and pencil from his 
table, also a book, a Russian grammar — for he was studying Rus- 
sian with the idea that it would be of advantage to him in the 
service — and, thus equipped, took his place in the reclining-chair 
on his balcony, throwing his cameVs-hair mg \ight\y across 
his feet. 

It was scarcely needed. During the last quarter-hour the layer of 
cloud had grown steadily thinner, and now the sun broke through 
in summerlike warmth, so dazzlingly that Joachim protected his 
head with a white linen shade which was fastened to the arm of 
his chair, and furnished with a device by means of which it could 
be adjusted to the position of the sun. Hans Castorp praised this 
contrivance. He wished to await the result of Joachim s measure- 
ment, and meanwhile looked about to see how everything was 
done: observed the fur-lined sleeping-sack that stood against the 
wall in a corner of the loggia, for Joachim to use on cold days; 
and gazed down into the garden, with his elbows on the balus- 
trade. The general rest-hall was populated by reclining patients, 
reading, writing, or conversing. He could see only a part of the 
interior, some four or five chairs. 

“ How long does that go om ” he asked, turning round. 

Joachim raised seven fingers. 

“ Seven minutes! But they must be up! 

Joachim shook his head. A little later he took the thermometer 
out of his mouth, looked at it, and said: Yes, when you watch it, 
the time, it goes very slowly. I quite like the measuring, four times 



THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


66 

a day, for then you know what a minute — or seven of them — 
actually amounts to, up here in this place, where the seven days 
of the week whisk by the way they do! ” 

“ You say ‘ actually,’ ” Hans Castorp answered. He sat with one 
leg flung over the balustrade, and his eyes looked bloodshot. 
“ But after all, time isn't actual.’ When it seems long to you, then 
it is long; when it seems short, why, then it is short. But how 
long, or how short, it actually is, that nobody knows. He was 
unaccustomed to philosophize, yet somehow felt an impulse to 
do so. 

Joachim gainsaid him. “How so- -we do measure it. We 
have watches and calendars for the purpose; and when a month 
is up, why, then up it is, for you, and for me, and for all of us.” 

“ Wait,"” said Hans Castorp. He held up his forefinger, close 
to his tired eyes. “ A minute, then, is as long as it seems to you 
when you measure yourself? ” 

“ A minute is as iong — it lasts as long — as it takes the second 
hand of my watch to complete a circuit.” 

“ But it takes such a varied length of time — to our senses! And 
as a matter of fact - 1 say taking it just as a matter of fact,” he 
n peated, pressing his forefinger so hard against his nose that 
he bent the end of it quite round, “ it is motion, isn’t it, motion 
in space 5 Wait a minute! That means that we measure time by 
space. But that is no better than measuring space by time, a thing 
only very unscientific people do. From Hamburg to Davos is 
twenty hours — that is, by train. But on foot how long is it? And 
in the mind, how long 5 Not a second! ” 

“ I say,” Joachim said, “ what’s the matter with you 5 Seems 
to me it goes to your head to be up here with us! ” 

“ Keep quiet 1 I’m verv clear-headed to-day. Well, then, what 
is time? ” asked Hans Castorp, and bent the tip of his nose so 
far round that it became white and bloodless. “ Can you answer 
me that 5 Space we perceive with our organs, with our senses of 
sight and touch. Good. But which is our organ of time — tell 
me that if vou can. You see, that’s where you stick. But how 
can we possibly measure anything about which we actually know 
nothing, not even a single one of its properties? We say of time 
that it passes. Very good, let it pass. But to be able to measure it — 
wait a minute: to be susceptible of being measured, time must 
flow evenly, but who ever said it did that? As far as our con- 
sciousness is concerned it doesn’t, we only assume that it does, 
for the sake of convenience; and our units of measurement are 
purely arbitrary, sheer conventions — ” 



MENTAL GYMNASTIC 


67 

Good, Joachim said. “ Then perhaps it is pure convention 
that I have five points too much here on my thermometer. But 
on account of those lines I have to drool about here instead of 
joining up, which is a disgusting fact.” 

“ Have you 99.3 °? ” 

“ Ingoing down already,” and Joachim made the entry on his 
chart. Last night it was almost ioo° — that was your arrival. 
A visit always makes it go up. But it is a good thing, notwith- 
standing.” 

“ HI g° now,” said Hans Castorp. “ Fve still a great many ideas 
in my head about the time — a whole complex, if I may say so. 
But I won’t excite you with them now, you’ve too many degrees 
as it is. I’ll keep them all and return to them later, perhaps after 
breakfast. You will call me when it is time, I suppose. I’ll go now 
and lie down; it won’t hurt me, thank goodness.” With which he 
passed round the glass partition into his loggia, where stood his 
own reclining-chair and side-table. He fetched Ocecm Steam- 
ships and his beautiful, soft, dark-red and green plaid from within 
the room, which had already been put into perfect order, and 
sat himself down. 

Soon he too had to put up the little sunshade; the heat became 
unbearable as he lay. But he was uncommonly comfortable, he 
decided, with distinct satisfaction. He did not recall in ali his 
experience so acceptable an easy-chair. The frame — a little old- 
fashioned, perhaps, a mere matter of taste, for the chair was 
obviously new — was of polished red-brown wood, and the mat- 
tress was covered in a soft cotton material; or rather, it was not a 
mattress, but three thick cushions, extending from the foot to the 
very top of the chair-back. There was a head-roll besides, neither 
too hard nor too yielding, with an embroidered linen cover, 
fastened on by a cord to the chair, and wondiously agreeable 
to the neck. Hans Castorp supported his elbow on the broad, 
smooth surface of the chair-arm, blinked, and reposed himself, 
The landscape, rather severe and sparse, though brightly sunny, 
looked like a framed painting as viewed through the arch of the 
loggia. Hans Castorp gazed thoughtfully at it. Suddenly he 
thought of something, and said aloud in the stillness: “ That was 
a dwarf, wasn’t it, that waited on us at breakfast? ” 

“Sh-h,” went Joachim. “Don’t speak loud. Yes, a dwarf. 
Why? ” 

“ Nothing. We hadn’t mentioned it.” 

He mused on. It had been ten o’clock when he lay down. An 
hour passed. It was an ordinary hour, not long, not short. At its 


68 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


close a bell sounded through the house and garden, first afar, then 
near, then from afar again. 

“ Breakfast,” Joachim said and could be heard getting up. 

Hans Castorp too finished with his cure for the time and went 
into his room to put himself to rights a little. The cousins met in 
the corridor and descended the stair. 

Hans Castorp said: “ Well, the lying-down is great! What sort 
of chairs are they? If they are to be had here, I’ll buy one and take 
it to Hamburg with me; they are heavenly to lie in. Or do you 
think Behrens had them made to his design? ” 

Joachim did not know. They entered the dining-room, where 
the meal was again in full swing. 

At every place stood a large glass, probably a half litre of milk; 
the room shimmered white with it. 

“ No,” Hans Castorp said, when he was once more in his seat 
between the seamstress and the Englishwoman, and had docilely 
unfolded his serviette, though still heavy with the earlier meal; 
“ no, God help me, milk I never could abide, and least of all now! 
Is there perhaps some porter? ” He applied himself to the dwarf 
and put his question with the gentlest courtesy, but alas, there was 
none. She promised to bring Kulmbacher beer, and did so. It was 
thick, dark, and foaming brownly; it made a capital substitute for 
the porter. Hans Castorp drank it thirstily from a half-litre glass, 
and ate some cold meat and toast. Again there was oatmeal por- 
ridge and much butter and fruit. He let his eyes dwell upon them, 
incapable of more. And he looked at the guests as well; the groups 
began to break up for him, and individuals to stand out. 

His own table was full, except the place at the top, which, he 
learned, was “ the doctor’s place.” For the doctors, when their 
work allowed, ate at the common table, sitting at each of the seven 
in turn; at each one a place was kept free. But just now neither was 
present; they were operating, it was said. The young man with 
the moustaches came in again, sank his chin once for all on his 
breast, and sat down, with his self-absorbed, care-worn mien. The 
lean, light blonde was in her seat, and spooned up yogurt as 
though it formed her sole article of diet. Next her appeared a 
lively little old dame, who addressed the silent young man in Rus- 
sian; he regarded her uneasily, and answered only by nodding his 
head, looking as though he had a bad taste in his mouth. Opposite 
him, on the other side of the elderly lady, there was another young 
girl — pretty, with a blooming complexion and full bosom, chest- 
nut hair that waved agreeably, round, brown, childlike eyes, and a 
little ruby on her lovely hand. She laughed often, and spoke Rus- 


MENTAL GYMNASTIC 


69 

sian. Hans Castorp learned that her name was Marusja. He noticed 
further that when she laughed and talked, Joachim sat with eyes 
cast sternly down upon his plate. 

Settembrini appeared through the side door, and, curling his 
moustaches, strode to his place at the end of the table diagonally 
in front of that where Hans Castorp sat. His table-mates burst 
out in peals of laughter as he sat down; he had probably said some- 
thing cutting. Hans Castorp recognized the members of the Half- 
Lung Club. Hermine Kleefeld, heavy-eyed, slid into her place at 
the table in front of one of the verandah doois, speaking as she did 
so to the thick-lipped youth who had worn his coat in the un- 
seemly fashion that had struck Hans Castorp. The ivory-coloured 
Levi and the fat, freckled litis sat side by side at a table at right 
angles to Hans Castorp — he did not know any of their table- 
mates. 

“ There are your neighbours,” Joachim said in a low voice to 
his cousin, bending forward as he spoke. The pair passed close be- 
side Hans Castorp to the last table on the right, the “ bad ” Russian 
table, apparently, where there already sat a whole family, one of 
whom, a very ugly boy, was gobbling great quantities of porridge. 
The man was of slight proportions, with a grey, hollow-cheeked 
face. He wore a brown leather jacket; on his feet he had clumsy 
felt boots with buckled clasps. His wife, likewise small and slender, 
walked with tripping steps in her tiny, high-heeled Russia leather 
boots, the feathers swaying on her hat. Around her neck she wore 
a soiled feather boa. Hans Castorp looked at them with a ruthless 
stare, quite foreign to his usual manner — he himself was aware 
of its brutality, yet at the same time conscious of relishing that 
very quality. His eyes felt both staring and heavy. At that moment 
the glass door on the left slammed shut, with a rattle and ringing of 
glass; he did not start as he had on the first occasion, but only made 
a grimace of lazy disgust; when he wished to turn his head, he 
found the effort too much for him — it was really not worth while. 
And thus, for the second time, he was unable to fix upon the per- 
son who was guilty of behaving in that reckless way about a door. 

The truth was that the breakfast beer, as a rule only mildly ob- 
fuscating to the young man’s sense, had this time completely 
stupefied and befuddled him. He felt as though he had received a 
blow on the head. His eyelids were heavy as lead; his tongue 
would not shape his simple thoughts when out of politeness he 
tried to talk to the Englishwoman. Even to alter the direction 
of his gaze he was obliged to conquer a great disinclination; and, 
added to all this, the hateful burning in his face had reached the 



7 o 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


same height as yesterday, his cheeks felt puffy with heat, he 
breathed with difficulty; his heart pounded dully, like a hammer 
muffled in cloth. If all these sensations caused him no high degree 
of suffering, that was only because his head felt as though he had 
inhaled a few whiffs of chloroform. He saw as in a dream that Dr. 
Krokowski appeared at breakfast and took the place opposite to 
his; the doctor, however, repeatedly looked him sharply in the 
eye, while he conversed in Russian with the ladies on his right. The 
young girls — the blooming Alarusja and the lean consumer of 
yogurt — cast down their eyes modestly as the doctor spoke. Hans 
Castorp did not, of course, bear himself otherwise than with dig- 
nity. In silence, since his tongue refused its office, but managing 
his knife and fork with particular propriety. When his cousin 
nodded to him and got up, he rose too, bowed blindly to the rest 
of the table, and with cautious steps followed Joachim out. 

“ When do we lie down again? ” he asked, as they left the house. 
“ It’s the best thing up here, so far as I can see. I wish I were back 
again in my comfortable chair. Do we take a long walk? ” 


A W ord Too Much 

“ No,” answered Joachim. “ I am not allowed to go far. At this 
period I always go down below, through the village as far as the 
Platz if I have time. There are shops and people, and one can buy 
what one needs. Don’t worry, we rest for an hour again before 
dinner, and then after it until four o’clock.” 

They went down the drive in the sunshine, crossed the water- 
course and the narrow track, having before their eyes the moun- 
tain heights of the western side of the valley: the Little Schiahom, 
the Green Tower, and the Dorf berg — Joachim mentioned their 
names. The little walled cemetery of Davos-Dorf lay up there, at 
some height; Joachim pointed it out with his stick. They reached 
the high road, that led along the terraced slope a storey higher than 
the valley floor. 

It was rather a misnomer to speak of the village, since scarcely 
anvthing but the word remained. The resort had swallowed it up, 
extending further and further toward the entrance of the valley, 
until that part of the settlement which was called the “ Dorf ” 
passed imperceptibly into the “ Platz.” Hotels and pensions, amply 
equipped with covered verandahs, balconies, and reclining-halls, 
lay on both sides of their way, also private houses with rooms to 
let. Here and there were new buildings, but also open spaces, 
which preserved a view toward the valley meadows. 



A WORD TOO MUCH 


71 

Hans Castorp, craving his familiar and wonted indulgence, had 
once more lighted a cigar; and, thanks probably to the beer that 
had gone before, he succeeded now and then in getting a whiff of 
the longed-for aroma — to his inexpressible satisfaction. But only 
now and then, but only faintly; the anxious receptivity of his atti- 
tude was a strain on the nerves, and the hateful leathery taste dis- 
tinctly prevailed. Unable to reconcile himself to his impotence, he 
struggled awhile to regain the enjoyment which either escaped 
him wholly, or else mocked him by its brief presence; finally, 
worn out and disgusted, he flung the cigar away. Despite his be- 
numbed condition he felt it incumbent upon him to be polite, to 
make conversation, and to this end he sought to recall those bril- 
liant ideas he had previously had, on the subject of time. Alas, 
they had fled, the whole “ complex ” of them, and left not a trace 
behind: on the subject of time not one single idea, however insig- 
nificant, found lodgment in his head. He began, therefore, to talk 
of ordinary matters, of the concerns of the body — what he said 
sounded odd enough in his mouth. 

“ When do you measure again? ” he asked. “ After eating" Yes, 
that’s a good time. When the organism is in full activity, it must 
show itself. Behrens must have been joking when he told me to 
take my temperature — Settembrini laughed like anything at the 
idea; there’s really no sense in it. I haven’t even a thermometer,” 

“ Well,” Joachim said, “ that is the least of your difficulties. You 
can get one anywhere — they sell them in almost every shop.” 

“ Why should P No, the lying-down is very much the thing. 
I’ll gladly do it; but measuring would be rather too much for a 
guest; I’ll leave that to the rest of you. If I only knew,” Hans Ca- 
storp went on, and laid his hands like a lover on his heart, “ if I 
only knew why I have palpitations the whole time — it is \ c * y 
disquieting; I keep thinking about it. For, you see, a person or- 
dinarily has palpitation of the heart when he is frightened, or 
when he is looking forward to some great joy. But when the heart 
palpitates ail by itself, without any reason, senselessly, of its own 
accord, so to speak, I feel that’s uncanny, you understand, as if the 
body was going its own gait without any reference to the soul, 
like a dead body, only it is not really dead — there isn’t any such 
thing, of course — but leading a very active existence ail on its 
own account, growing hair and nails and doing a lively business in 
the physical and chemical line, so I've been told — ” 

“ What kind of talk is that 5 ” Joachim said, with serious re- 
proach. “ ‘ Doing a lively business ’! ” And perhaps he recalled the 
reproaches he had called down on his own head earlier in the day 


72 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


“ It’s a fact — it is very lively! Why do you object to that? ” 
Hans Castorp asked. “ But I only happened to mention it. I only 
meant to say that it is disturbing and unpleasant to have the body 
act as though it had no connexion with the soul, and put on such 
airs — by which I mean these senseless palpitations. You keep try- 
ing to find an explanation for them, an emotion to account for 
them, a feeling of joy or pain, which would, so to speak, justify 
them. At least, it is that way with me — but I can only speak for 
myself.” 

“ Yes, yes,” Joachim said, sighing. “ It is the same thing, I sup- 
pose, as when you have fever — there are pretty lively goings-on 
in the system then too, to talk the way you do; it may easily be 
that one involuntarily tries to find an emotion which would ex- 
plain, or even half-way explain the goings-on. But we are talking 
such unpleasant stuff,” he said, his voice trembling a little, and he 
broke off; whereupon Hans Castorp shrugged his shoulders — 
with the very gesture, indeed, which had, the evening before, dis- 
pleased him in his cousin. 

They walked awhile in silence, until Joachim asked: “ Well, 
how do you like the people up here? I mean the ones at our table.” 

Hans Castorp put on a judicial air. “ Dear me,” he said, “ I don’t 
find them so very interesting. Some of the people at the other 
tables look more so, but that mav be only seeming. Frau Stohr 
ought to have her hair shampooed, it is so greasy. And that Ma- 
zurka — or whatever her name is — seemed rather silly to me. She 
keeps giggling and stuffing her handkerchief in her mouth.” 

Joachim laughed loudly at the twist his cousin had given the 
name. 

“ 1 Mazurka ’ is capital,” he said. “ Her name is Marusja, with 
your kind permission — it is the same as Marie. Yes, she really is 
too undisciplined, and after all, she has every reason to be serious,” 
he said, “ for her case is by no means light.” 

“ Who would have thought it? ” said Hans Castorp. “ She looks 
so very fit. Chest trouble is the last thing one would accuse her 
of.” He tried to catch his cousin’s eye, and saw that Joachim’s sun- 
burnt face had gone all spotted, as a tanned complexion will when 
the blood leaves it with suddenness; his mouth too was pitifully 
drawn, and wore an expression that sent an indefinable chill of fear 
over Hans Castorp and made him hasten to change the subject. He 
hurriedly inquired about others of their table-mates and tried to 
forget Marusja and the look on Joachim’s face — an effort in 
which he presently succeeded. 

The Englishwoman with the rose tea was Miss Robinson. The 



A WORD TOO MUCH 


73 

seamstress was not a seamstress but a schoolmistress at a lycee in 
Konigsberg - which accounted for the precision of her speech. 
Her name was Fraulein Engelhart. As for the name of the lively 
little old lady, Joachim, as long as he had been up here, did not 
know it. All he knew was that she was great-aunt to the young 
lady who ate yogurt, and lived with her permanently in the sana- 
torium. The worst case at their table was Dr. Blumenkohl, Leo 
Blumenkohi, from Odessa, the young man with the moustaches 
and the absorbed and care-worn air. He had been here years. 

They were now walking on the city pavement, the main street, 
obviously, of an international centre. They met the guests of the 
cure, strolling about, young people for the most part: gallants in 
“ sporting,” without their hats; white-skirted ladies, also hatless. 
One heard Russian and English. Shops with gay show-windows 
were on either side of the road, and Hans Castorp, his curiosity 
struggling with intense weariness, forced himself to look into 
them, and stood a long time before a shop that purveyed fashion- 
able male wear, to decide whether its display was really up to the 
mark. 

They reached a rotunda with covered galleries, where a band 
was giving a concert. This was the Kurhaus. Tennis was being 
played on several courts by long-legged, clean-shaven youths in 
accurately pressed flannels and rubber-soled shoes, their arms 
bared to the elbow, and sunburnt girls in white frocks, who ran 
and flung themselves high in the sunny aii in their efforts to strike 
the white ball. The well-kept courts looked as though coated with 
flour. The cousins sat down on an empty bench to watch and 
criticize the game. 

“ You don’t play here? ” Hans Castorp asked. 

“I am not allowed,” Joachim answered. “We have to lie — 
nothing but lie. Settembrini says we live horizontally — he calls us 
horizontallers; that’s one of his rotten jokes. Those are healthy 
people, there — or else they are breaking the rules. But they don’t 
play very seriously anyhow — it’s more for the sake of the cos- 
tume. As far as breaking the rules goes, there are more forbidden 
things besides tennis that get played here — poker, and petits- 
chevaux , in this and that hotel. At our place there is a notice about 
it; it is supposed to be the most harmful thing one can do. Even so, 
there are people who slip out after the evening visit and come 
down here to gamble. That prince who gave Behrens his title al- 
ways did it, they say.” 

Hans Castorp barely attended. His mouth was open, for he 
could not have breathed through his nose without sniffing; he felt 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


74 

with dull discomfort that his heart was hammering out of time 
with the music; and with this combined sense of discord and dis- 
order he was about to doze off when Joachim suggested that they 
go home. 

They returned almost in silence. Hans Castorp stumbled once 
or twice on the level street and grinned ruefully as he shook his 
head. The lame man took them up in the lift to their own storey. 
They parted, with a brief “ See you later ” at the door of number 
thirty-four; Hans Castorp piloted himself through his room to the 
balcony, where he dropped just as he was upon his deck-chair and, 
without once shifting to a more comfortable posture, sank into a 
dull half-slumber, broken by the rapid beating of his unquiet heart. 

Of Course , A Female! 

How long it lasted he could not have told. When the moment 
arrived, the gong sounded. But it was not the gong for the meal, 
it was only the dressing-bell, as Hans Castorp knew, and so he still 
lay, until the metallic drone rose and died away a second time. 
When Joachim came to- fetch him, Hans Castorp wanted to 
change, but this Joachim would not allow. He hated and despised 
unpunctuality. Would he be likely, he asked, to get on, and get 
strong enough for the service, if he was too feeble to observe the 
hours for meals? Wherein he was, of course, quite right, and Hans 
Castorp could only say that he was not ill at all, but only utterly 
and entirely sleepy. He confined himself to washing his hands; and 
then for the third time they went down together to the dining- 
hall. 

The guests streamed in through both entrances, they even came 
through the open verandah door. Soon they all sat at their several 
tables as though they had never risen. Such at least was Hans Ca- 
storp’s impression — a dreamy and irrational impression, of course, 
but one which his muddled brain could not for an instant get rid 
of, in which it even took a certain satisfaction, so that several times 
in the course of the meal he sought to call it up again and was al- 
ways perfectly successful in reproducing the illusion. The gay old 
lady continued to talk in her semifluid tongue at the care-worn 
Dr. Blumenkohl, diagonally opposite; her lean niece actually at 
last ate something else than yogurt; namely, the thick cream of 
barley soup, which was handed round in soup-plates by the wait- 
resses. Of this she took a few spoonfuls and left the rest. Pretty 
Marusja giggled, then stuffed her dainty handkerchief in her 
mouth — it gave out a scent of oranges. Miss Robinson read the 


OF COURSE, A FEMALE! 75 

same letters, in the same round script, which she had read at break- 
fast. Obviously she knew not a word of German, nor wished to do 
so. Joachim, preux chevalier , said something to her in English, 
which she answered in a monosyllable without ceasing to chew, 
and relapsed again into silence. Frau Stohr, sitting there in her 
woollen blouse, gave the table to know she had been examined 
that forenoon; she went into particulars, affectedly drawing back 
her upper lip from the rodent-like teeth. There were rhonchi to 
be heard in the upper right side, and under the left shoulder-blade 
the breathing was still very limited; the “ old man ” said she would 
have to stop another five months. It sounded very common to 
hear her refer thus to Herr Hofrat Behrens. She displayed, more- 
over, a feeling of injury because the “ old man ” was not sitting at 
her table to-day, where he should by rights be sitting if he had 
taken them “ a la tournee ” — by which she presumably meant in 
turn — instead of going to the next table again. (There, in fact, he 
really was sitting, his great hands folded before his place.) But of 
course that was Frau Salomon’s table, the fat Frau Salomon from 
Amsterdam, who came decolletee to table even on week-days, a 
sight which the “ old man ” liked to see, though for her part — 
Frau Stohr’s — she never could understand why, since he could see 
all he wanted of Frau Salomon at every examination. She related, 
in an excited whisper, that last night, in the general rest-hall up 
under the roof, somebody had put out the light, for purposes 
which she designated as “ transparent.” The “ old man ’ had seen 
it, and stormed so you could hear it all over the place. He had not 
discovered the culprit, of course, but it didn’t take a university 
education to guess that it was Captain Miklosich from Bucharest, 
for whom, when in the society of ladies, it could never be dark 
enough: a man without any and all refinement — though he did 
wear a corset — and, by nature, simply a beast of prey — a perfect 
beast of prey, repeated Frau Stohr, in a stifled whisper, beads of 
perspiration on her brow and upper lip. The relations between 
him and Frau Consul-General Wurmbrandt from Vienna were 
known throughout Dorf and Platz — it was idle any longer to 
speak of them as clandestine. Not merely did the captain go into 
the Frau Consul-General’s bedroom while she was still in bed, and 
remain there throughout her toilet; last Thursday he had not left 
the Wurmbrandt’s room until four in the morning; that they 
knew from the nurse who was taking care of young Franz in 
number nineteen — his pneumothorax operation had gone wrong. 
She had, in her embarrassment, mistaken her own door, and 
burst suddenly into the room of Herr Paravant, a Dortmund aw- 



7 6 the magic mountain 

yer. Lastly Frau Stohr held forth for some time on the merits of 
a “ cosmic ” establishment down in the village, where she bought 
her mouth-wash. Joachim gazed stonily downwards at his plate. 

The meal was as faultlessly prepared as it was abundant. Count- 
ing the hearty soup, it consisted of no less than six courses. After 
the fish followed an excellent meat dish, with garnishings, then a 
separate vegetable course, then roast fowl, a pudding, not in- 
ferior to yesterday evening’s, and lastly cheese and fruit. Each 
dish was handed twice and not in vain. At all seven tables they 
filled their plates and ate: they ate like wolves; they displayed a 
voracity which would have been a pleasure to see, had there not 
been something else about it, an effect almost uncanny, not to 
say repulsive. It was not only the light-hearted who thus laced 
into the food - those who chattered as they ate and threw pellets 
of bread at each other. No, the same appetite was evinced by the 
silent, gloomy ones as well, those who in the pauses between 
courses leaned their heads on their hands and stared before them. 
A half-grown youth at the next table on the left, by his years a 
schoolboy, with his wrists coming out of his jacket sleeves, and 
thick, round eye-glasses, cut all the heaped-up food on his plate 
into a sort of mash, then bent over and gulped it down; he reached 
with his serviette behind his glasses now and then and dried his 
eyes — whether it was sweat or tears he dried one could not tell. 

There were two incidents during the course of the meal of 
which Hans Castorp took note, so far as his condition permitted. 
One was the banging of the glass door, which occurred while 
they were having the fish course. Hans Castorp gave an ex- 
asperated shrug and angrily resolved that this time he really must 
find out who did it. He said this not only within himself, his lips 
formed the words. “ I must find out,” he whispered with ex- 
aggerated earnestness. Miss Robinson and the schoolmistress both 
looked at him in surprise. He turned the whole upper half of his 
body to the left and opened wide his bloodshot blue eyes. 

It was a lady who was passing through the room; a woman, 
or rather girl, of middle height, in a white sweater and coloured 
skirt, her reddish-blond hair wound in braids about her head. 
Hans Castorp had only a glimpse of her profile. She moved, in 
singular contrast to the noise of her entrance, almost without 
sound, passing with a peculiarly gliding step, her head a little 
thrust forward, to her place at the furthest table on the left, at 
right angles to the verandah door: the “ good ” Russian table, 
in fact. As she walked, she held one hand deep in the pocket of 
her close-fitting jacket; the other she lifted to the back of her 


OF COURSE, A FEMALE! 77 

head and arranged the plaits of her hair. Hans Castorp looked 
at the hand. He was habitually observant and critical of this 
feature, and accustomed when he made a new acquaintance to 
direct his attention first upon it. It was not particularly lady- 
like, this hand that was putting the braids to rights; not so re- 
fined and well kept as the hands of ladies in Hans Castorp’s own 
social sphere. Rather broad, with stumpy fingers, it had about it 
something primitive and childish, something indeed of the school- 
girl. The nails, it was plain, knew nothing of the manicurist’s art; 
they were cut in rough-and-ready schoolgirl fashion, and the 
skin at the side looked almost as though someone were subject 
to the childish vice of finger biting. But Hans Castorp sensed 
rather than saw this, owing to the distance. The laggard greeted 
her table-mates with a nod, and took her place on the inner side 
of the table with her back to the room, next to Dr. Krokowski, 
who was sitting at the top. As she did so, she turned her head, with 
the hand still raised to it, toward the dining-room and surveyed 
the public; Hans Castorp had opportunity for the fleeting ob- 
servation that her cheek-bones were broad and her eyes narrow. — 
A vague memory of something, of somebody, stirred him slightly 
and fleetingly as he looked. 

“ Of course, a female! ” he thought, or rather he actually 
uttered, in a murmur, yet so that the schoolmistress, Fraulein 
Engelhart, understood. The poor old spinster smiled in sympathy. 

“ That is Madame Chauchat,” she said. “ She is so heedless. 
A charming creature.” And the downy flush on her cheek grew 
a shade darker — as it did whenever she spoke. 

“ A Frenchwoman? ” Hans Castorp asked, with severity. 

“ No, she is a Russian,” was the answer. “ Her husband is very 
likely French or of French descent, I am not sure.” 

Hans Castorp asked, still irritated, if that was he — pointing to 
a gentleman with drooping shoulders who sat at the “ good ” 
Russian table. 

“ Oh, no,” the schoolmistress answered, “ he isn’t here; he has 
never been here, no one knows him.” 

“ She ought to learn how to shut a door,” Hans Castorp said. 
“ She always lets it slam. It is a piece of ill breeding.” 

And on the schoolmistress’s meekly accepting this reproof as 
though she herself had been the guilty party, there was no more 
talk of Madame Chauchat. 

The second event was the temporary absence of Dr. Blumen- 
kohl from the room — nothing more. The mildly disgusted facial 
expression suddenly deepened, he looked with sadder fixity into 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


space, then unobtrusively moved back his chair and went out. 
Whereupon Frau Stohr’s essential ill breeding showed itself in 
the clearest light; probably out of vulgar satisfaction in the fact 
that she was less ill than Dr. Blumenkohl. She accompanied his 
exit with comments half pitying, half contemptuous. 

“ Poor creature,” she said. “ He’ll soon be at his last gasp. He 
had to go out for a talk with his 4 Blue Peter.’ ” 

Quite stolidly, without repulsion, she brought out the grotesque 
phrase — Hans Castorp felt a mixture of repugnance and desire 
to laugh. Presently Dr. Blumenkohl came back in the same un- 
obtrusive way, took his place, and went on eating. He too ate a 
great deal, twice of every dish, always in silence, with the same 
melancholy, preoccupied air. 

Thus the midday meal came to an end. Thanks to the skilled 
service — the dwarf at Hans Castorp’s table was one of the 
quickest on her feet — it had lasted only a round hour. Breathing 
heavily, and not quite sure how he got upstairs, Hans Castorp 
lay once more in his capital chair upon his loggia; after this meal 
there was rest-cure until tea-time — the most important and 
rigidly adhered-to rest period of the day. Between the opaque 
gla^s walls that divided him on the one side from Joachim, on 
the other from the Russian couple, he lay and idly dreamed, his 
heart pounding, breathing through his mouth. On using his hand- 
kerchief he discovered it to be red with blood, but had not enough 
energy to think about the fact, though he was rather given to 
worrying over himself and by nature inclined to hypochondria. 
Once more he had lighted a Maria Mancini, and this time he 
smoked it to the end, no matter how it tasted. Giddy and op- 
pressed, he considered as in a dream how very odd he had felt 
since he came up here. Two or three times his breast was shaken 
by inward laughter at the horrid expression which that ignorant 
creature, Frau Stohr, had used. 

Herr Albin 

Below in the garden the fanciful banner with the caduceus lifted 
itself now and again in a breath of wind. The sky was once more 
evenly, overcast. The sun was gone, the air had grown almost 
inhospitably cool. The general rest-hall seemed to be full; talking 
and laughter went on below. 

“ Herr Albin, I implore you, put away your knife; put it in 
your pocket, there will be an accident with it,” a high, uncer- 
tain voice besought. Then: “ Dear Herr Albin, for heaven’s sake, 



HERR ALBIN 


79 

spare our nerves, and take that murderous tool out of our sight,” 
a second voice chimed in. 

A blond young man, with a cigarette in his mouth, sitting in 
the outside easy-chair, responded pertly: “ Couldn’t think of it! 
I m sure the ladies haven t the heart to prevent me from amus- 
ing myself a little! I bought that knife in Calcutta, of a blind 
wizard. He could swallow it, and then have his boy dig it up 
fifty paces from where he stood. Do look - it is sharper than 
a razor. You only need to touch the blade; it goes into your flesh 
like cutting butter. Wait a minute, I’ll show it you close by.” 
And Herr Albin stood up. A shriek arose. “ Or rather,” said he, 
“ I’ll fetch my revolver; that will be more interesting. Piquant little 
tool — useful too. Send a bullet through anything. — I’ll go up 
and get it.” 

“ No, no, don’t, pray don’t, Herr Albin! ” in a loud outcry 
from many voices. But Herr Albin had already come out to go 
up to his room: very young and lanky, with a rosy, childish face, 
and little strips of side-whisker close to his ears. 

“ Herr Albin,” cried a lady’s voice from within, “ do fetch 
your greatcoat instead, and put it on; do it just to please me! 
Six weeks long you have lain with inflammation of the lungs, and 
now you sit here without an overcoat, and don’t even cover 
yourself, and smoke cigarettes! That is tempting Providence; 
on my word it is, Herr Albin! ” 

He only laughed scornfully as he went off, and in a few 
minutes returned with the revolver in his hand. The silly geese 
squawked worse than before, and some of them even made as 
if they would spring from their chairs, wrap their blankets round 
them, and flee. 

“ Look how little and shiny he is,” said Herr Albin. “ But when 
I press him here, then he bites.” Another outcry. “ Of course, he 
is loaded — to the hilt,” he continued. “ In this disk here are the 
six cartridges. It turns one hole at each shot. But I don’t keep 
him merely for a joke,” he said noticing that the sensation was 
wearing off. He let the revolver slip into his breast pocket, sat 
down again, flung one leg over the other, and lighted a fresh 
cigarette. a Certainly not for a joke,” he repeated, and compressed 
his lips. 

“ What foi, then — what for? ” they asked, their voices 
trembling. 

“ Horrible! ” came a sudden cry, and Herr Albin nodded. 

“ I see you begin to understand,” he said. ‘‘ In fact, you are 
right, that is what I keep it for,” he went on airily, inhaling, 


8o 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


despite the recent inflammation of the lungs, a mass of smoke and 
breathing it slowly out again. “ I keep it in readiness for the day 
when I can’t stand this farce any longer, and do myself the honour 
to bid you a respectful adieu. It is all very simple. I’ve given the 
matter some study, and I know precisely how to do it.” Another 
screech at the word. “ I eliminate the region of the heart, the aim 
is not very convenient there. I prefer to annihilate my conscious- 
ness at its very centre by introducing my charming little foreign 
body direct into this interesting organ.” — Herr Albin indicated 
with his index finger a spot on his close-cropped blond pate. “ You 
aim here — ” he drew the nickel-plated revolver out of his pocket 
once more and tapped with the barrel against his skull — “ just 
here, above the artery; even without a mirror the thing is 
simple — ” 

A chorus of imploring protest arose, mingled with heavy sob- 
bing. “ Herr Albin, Herr Albin, put it away, take it from your 
temple, it is dreadful to see you! Herr Albin, you are young, you 
will get well, you will return to the world, everybody will love 
you! But put on your coat and lie down, cover yourself, go on 
with your cure. Don’t drive the bathing-master away next time 
he comes to rub you down with alcohol. And stop smoking 
cigarettes — Herr Albin, we implore you, for the sake of your 
young, your precious life! ” 

But Herr Albin was inexorable. “ No, no,” he said “ let me alone, 
I’m all right, thanks. I’ve never refused a lady anything yet; but 
you see it’s no good trying to put a spoke in the wheel of fate. 
I am in my third year up here — I’m sick of it, fed up, I can’t 
play the game any more — do you blame me for that 5 Incurable, 
ladies, as I sit here before you, an incurable case; the Hofrat him- 
self is hardly at the pains any longer to pretend I am not. Grant 
me at least the freedom which is all I can get out of the situation. 
In school, when it was settled that someone was not to move up 
to the next form, he just stopped where he was; nobody asked 
him any more questions, he did not have to do any more work. 
It’s like that with me; I am in that happy condition now. I need 
do nothing more, I don’t count, I can laugh at the whole thing. 
Would you like some chocolate 5 Do take some — no, you won’t 
be robbing me, I have heaps of it in my room, eight boxes, and 
five tablets of Gala-Peter and four pounds of Lindt. The ladies 
of the sanatorium gave it to me when I was ill with my inflamma- 
tion of the lungs — ” 

From somewhere a bass voice was audible, commanding quiet. 
Herr Albin gave a short laugh, a ragged, wavering laugh; then 



SATANA MAKES PROPOSALS 


8'l 

stillness reigned in the rest-hall , a stillness as of a vanished dream . 
a disappearing wraith. Afterwards the voices rose again, sound- 
ing strange in the silence. Hans Castorp listened until they were 
quite hushed. He had an indistinct notion that Herr Albin was a 
puppy, yet could not resist a certain envy. In particular, the 
school-days comparison made an impression on him; he himself 
had stuck in the lower second and well remembered this situation, 
of course rather to be ashamed of and yet not without its funny 
side. In particular he recalled the agreeable sensation of being 
totally lost and abandoned, with which, in the fourth quarter, he 
gave up the running -he could have “laughed at the whole 
thing.” His reflections were dim and confused, it would be diffi- 
cult to define them; but in effect it seemed to him that, though 
honour might possess certain advantages, yet shame had others, 
and not inferior: advantages, even, that were w T ell-nigh boundless 
in their scope. He tried to put himself in Herr Albin’s place and 
see how T it must feel to be finally relieved of the burden of a 
respectable life and made free of the infinite realms of shame; 
and the young man shuddered at the wild wave of sweetness 
which swept over him at the thought and drove on his labouring 
heart to an even quicker pace. 

Satana Makes Proposals That Touch Our Honour 

After a while he lost consciousness. It was half past three by 
his watch when he was roused by voices behind the left-hand 
glass partition. Dr. Krokowski at this hour made the rounds 
alone, and he was talking in Russian with the unmannerly pair 
on the next balcony, asking the husband how he did, it seemed, 
and inspecting the fever chart. He did not, however, continue 
his route by the balconies, but skirted Hans Castorp’s section, 
passing along the corridor and entering Joachim’s room by the 
door. Hans Castorp felt rather hurt to have Krokowski circle 
round and leave him out — even though a tete-a-tete with the 
gentleman was something he was far from hankering after. Of 
course he was healthy, he was not included with the other in- 
mates; up here, he reflected, it was the sound and healthy person 
who did not count, who got no attention — and this the young 
man found vastly annoying. 

Dr. Krokowski stopped with Joachim two or three minutes; 
then he went on down the row of balconies, and Hans Castorp 
heard his cousin say that it was time to get up and make ready 
for tea. 



82 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


“ Good,” he answered, and rose. But he was giddy from long 
lying, and the unrefreshing half-slumber had made his face bum 
anew; yet he felt chilly; perhaps he had not been well enough 
covered as he lay. 

He washed his eyes and hands, brushed his hair, put his dom- 
ing to rights, and met Joachim outside in the corridor. 

“ Did you hear that Herr Albin? ” he asked, as they went down 
the steps. 

“ I should say 1 did,” his cousin answered. “ The man ought 
to be disciplined — disturbing the whole rest period with his 
gabble, and exciting the ladies so that it puts them back for weeks. 
A piece of gross insubordination. But who is there to denounce 
him? On the contrary, that sort of thing makes quite a welcome 
diversion.” 

“ Do you think he would really do it — put a bullet into him- 
self? It’s a ‘ very simple matter,’ to use his own words.” 

“ Oh,” answered Joachim, “ it isn’t so out of the question, 
more’s the pity. Such things do happen up here. Two months 
before I came, a student who had been here a long time hanged 
himself down in the wood, after a general examination. It was 
a good deal talked about still, in the early days after I came.” 

Hans Castorp gaped excitedly. “ Well,” he declared, “ I am 
certainly far from feeling fit up here. I couldn’t say I did. I think 
it’s quite possible I shan’t be able to stop, that I’ll have to leave — 
you wouldn’t take it amiss, would you? ” 

“ Leave? What is the matter with you? ” cried Joachim. 
“Nonsense! You’ve just come. You can’t judge from the first 
day! ” 

“ Good Lord, is it still only the first day? It seems to me I’ve 
been up here a long time — ages.” 

“ Don’t begin to philosophize again about time,” said Joachim. 
“ You had me perfectly bewildered this morning.” 

“ No, don’t worry, I’ve forgotten all of it,” answered Hans 
Castorp, “ the whole 4 complex.’ I’ve lost all the clear-headedness 
I had — it’s gone. Well, and so it’s time for tea.” 

“ Yes; and after that we walk as far as the bench again, like 
this morning.” 

“ Just as you say. Only I hope we shan’t meet Settembrini again. 
I’m not up to any more learned conversation. I can tell you that 
beforehand.” 

At tea all the various beverages were served which it is possi- 
ble to serve at that meal. Miss Robinson drank again her brew 
made of rose-hips, the grand-niece spooned up her yogurt. There 


SATANA MAKES PROPOSALS 


83 

were milk, tea, coffee, chocolate, even bouillon; and on every 
hand the guests, newly arisen from some two hours’ repose after 
their heavy luncheon, were busily spreading huge slices of raisin 
cake with butter. 

Hans Castorp chose tea, and dipped zwieback in it; he also 
tasted some marmalade. The raisin cake he contemplated with an 
interested eye, but literally shuddered at the thought of eating 
any. Once more he sat here in his place, in this vaulted room with 
its gay yet simple decorations, its seven tables. It was the fourth 
time. Later, at seven o’clock, he sat there agam for the fifth time, 
and that was supper. In the brief and trifling interval the cousins 
had taken a turn as far as the bench on the mountain-side, beside 
the little watercourse. The path had been full of patients; Hans 
Castorp had often to lift his hat. Followed a last period of rest 
on the balcony, a fugitive and empty interlude of an hour and 
a half. 

He dressed conscientiously for the evening meal, and, sitting 
in his place between Miss Robinson and the schoolmistress, he 
ate: julienne soup, baked and roast meats with suitable accompani- 
ments, tw~o pieces of a tart made of macaroons, butter-cream, 
chocolate, jam and marzipan, and lastly excellent cheese and 
pumpernickel. As before, he ordered a bottle of Kulmbacher. But, 
by the time he had half emptied his tall glass, he became clearly 
and unmistakably aware that bed was the best place for him. 
His head roared, his eyelids were like lead, his heart went like a 
set of kettledrums, and he began to torture himself with the 
suspicion that pretty Marusja, who was bending over her plate 
covering her face with the hand that wore the ruby ring, was 
laughing at him — though he had taken enormous pains not to 
give occasion for laughter. Out of the far distance he heard Frau 
Stohr telling, or asserting, something which seemed to him such 
utter nonsense that he was conscious of a despairing doubt as to 
whether he had heard aright, or whether he had turned her words 
to nonsense in his addled brain. She was declaring that she knew 
how to make twenty-eight different sauces to serve with fish; 
she would stake her reputation on the fact, though her own hus- 
band had warned her not to talk about it: “ Don’t talk about it,” 
he had told her; “ nobody will believe it, or, if they do, they will 
simply laugh at you! ” And yet she w r ould say it, say once and 
for all, that it was twenty-eight fish-sauces she could make. All 
of which, to our good Hans Castorp, seemed too mad for words; 
he clutched his brow with his hand, and in his amazement quite 
forgot that he had a bite of pumpernickel and Cheshire still to be 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


84 

chewed and swallowed. When he rose from table, he had it still 
in his mouth. 

They went out through the left-hand glass door, that fatal door 
which always slammed, and which led directly to the front hall. 
Nearly all the guests went out the same way; it appeared that 
after dinner a certain amount of social intercourse took place in 
the hall and the adjoining salons. Most of the patients stood about 
in little groups chatting. Games were begun at two green 
extension-tables: at the one, dominoes; at the other, bridge, and 
here only the young folk played, among them Hermine Kleefeld 
and Herr Albin. In the iirst salon were some amusing optical 
diversions: the first a stereoscope, behind the lenses of which one 
inserted a photograph — for instance, there was one of a Venetian 
gondolier — and on looking through, you saw the figure stand- 
ing out in the round, lifelike, though bloodless; another was a 
kaleidoscope — you put your eye to the lens and slightly turned 
a wheel, when all sorts of gay-coloured stars and arabesques 
danced and juggled before it with the swift changefulness of 
magic. A third was a revolving drum, into which you inserted a 
strip of cinematographic film and then looked through the open- 
ings as it whirled, and saw a miller fighting with a chimney-sweep, 
a schoolmaster chastising a boy, a leaping rope-dancer and a 
peasant pair dancing a folk-dance. Hans Castorp, his cold hands 
on his knees, gazed a long time into each of these contrivances. 
He paused awhile by the card-table, where Herr Albin, the in- 
curable, sat with the comers of his mouth drawn down, and 
handled the cards with a supercilious, man-of-the-worldly air. 
In a comer sat Dr. Krokowski, absorbed in a brisk and hearty 
conversation with a half-circle of ladies, among them Frau Stohr, 
Frau litis, and Fraulein Levi. The occupants of the “ good ” Rus- 
sian table had withdrawn into a neighbouring small salon, sep- 
arated from the card-room by a portiere, where they formed a 
small and separate coterie, consisting, in addition to Madame 
Chauchat, of a languid, blond-bearded youth with a hollow chest 
and prominent eyeballs; a young girl of pronounced brunette 
type, with a droll, original face, gold ear-rings, and wild woolly 
hair; besides these, Dr. Blumenkohl, who had joined their circle, 
and two other youths with drooping shoulders. Madame Chauchat 
wore a blue frock with a white lace collar. She sat, the centre 
of her group, on the sofa behind the round table, at the bottom 
of the small salon, her face turned toward the card-room. Hans 
Castorp, who could not look at the unmannerly creature without 



SATANA MAKES PROPOSALS 85 

disapproval, said to himself: “ She reminds me of something, but 
I cannot tell what.” 

A tall man of some thirty years, growing bald, played the wed- 
ding march from the Midsummer Night's Dream three times on 
end, on the little brown piano, and on being urged by some of 
the ladies, began the melodious piece for the fourth time, gazing 
deep and silently into their eyes, one after the other. 

“ May I be permitted to ask after the state of your health, 
Engineer? ” inquired Settembrini, who had lounged up among 
the other guests, hands in pockets, and now presented himself 
before Hans Castorp. He still wore his pilot coat and check 
trousers. He smiled as he spoke, and Hans Castorp felt again the 
sobering effect of that fine and mocking curl of the lip beneath 
the waving black moustaches. He looked rather stupidly at the 
Italian, with lax mouth and red-veined eyes. 

u Oh, it’s you! ” he said. “ The gentleman we met this morning 
on our walk — at that bench up there — near the — yes, I knew 
you at once. Can you believe it,” he went on, though conscious 
of saying something gauche , “ can you believe it, I took you for 
an organ-grinder when I first saw you 2 Of course, that’s all utter 
rot,” he added, seeing a coolly inquiring expression on Settem- 
brini’s face. “ Perfectly idiotic. I can’t comprehend how in the 
world I — ” 

“ Don’t disturb yourself, it doesn’t matter,” responded Settem- 
brini, after fixing the young man with a momentary intent regard. 
“ Well, and how have you spent your day, the first of your 
sojourn in this gay resort? ” 

“ Thanks very much — quite according to the rules,” answered 
Hans Castorp. “ Prevailingly ‘ horizontal,’ as I hear you prefer 
to call it.” 

Settembrini smiled. “ I may have taken occasion co express my- 
self thus,” he said. “ Well, and you found it amusing, this manner 
of existence? ” 

“ Amusing or dull, whichever you like,” responded Hans Ca- 
storp. “ It isn’t always so easy to decide which, you know. At 
all events, I haven’t been bored; there are far too lively goings-on 
up here for that. So much that is new and unusual to hear and 
see — and yet, in another way, it seems as though I had been here 
a long time, instead of just a single day — as if I had got older and 
wiser since I came — that is the way I feel.” 

“ Wiser, too? ” Settembrini asked, and raised his eyebrows. 
“ Will you permit me to ask how old you are? ” 



86 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


And behold, Hans Castorp could not tell! At that moment he 
did not know how old he was, despite strenuous, even desperate 
efforts to bethink himself. In order to gain time he had the ques- 
tion repeated, and then answered: “ I? How old I am? In my 
twenty-fourth year, of course. I’ll soon be twenty-four. I beg 
your pardon, but I am very tired,” he went on. “ Tired isn’t the 
word for it. Do you know how it is when you are dreaming, and 
know that you are dreaming, and try to awake and can’t? That 
is precisely the way I feel. I certainly must have some fever; 
otherwise I simply cannot explain it. Imagine, my feet are cold 
ail the way up to my knees. If one may put it that way, of course 
one’s knees aren’t one’s feet — do excuse me, I am all in a muddle, 
and no wonder, considering I was whistled at in the morning 
with the pn — the pn — eumothorax, and in the afternoon had to 
listen to this Herr Albin~in the horizontal, on top of that! It 
seems to me I cannot any more trust my five senses, and that I 
must confess disturbs me more than my cold feet and the heat 
in my face. Tell me frankly: do you think it is possible Frau 
Stohr knows how to make twenty-eight different kinds of fish- 
sauces? I don’t mean if she actually can make them — that I should 
consider out of the question — I mean if she said at table just now 
she could, or if I only imagined she did — that is all I want to 
know.” 

Settembrini looked at him. He seemed not to have been listen- 
ing. His eyes were set again, they had taken on a fixed stare, and 
he said: “ Yes, yes, yes,” and “ I see, I see, I see,” each three times, 
just as he had done in the morning, in a considering, deriding 
tone, and giving a sharp sound to the s' s. 

“ Twenty-four? ” he asked after a while. 

“ No, twenty-eight,” Hans Castorp said. “ Twenty-eight fish- 
sauces. Not sauces in general, special sauces for fish — that is the 
monstrous part of it.” 

“ Engineer,” Settembrini said sharply, almost angrily, “ pull 
yourself together and stop talking this demoralized rubbish. I 
know nothing about it, nor do I wish to. You are in your twenty- 
fourth year, you say 5 H’m. Permit me to put another question, or 
rather, with your kind permission, make a suggestion. As your 
stay up here with us does not appear to be conducive, as you 
don’t feel comfortable, either physically or, unless I err, mentally, 
how would it be if you renounced the prospect of growing older 
on this spot — in short, what if you were to pack to-night, and 
be up and away with the first suitable train? ” 

“ You mean I should go away? ” Hans Castorp asked; “ when 



SATANA MAKES PROPOSALS 87 

I’ve hardly come? No, why should I try to judge from the first 
day? ” 

He happened, as he spoke, to direct his gaze into the next room, 
and saw Frau Chauchat’s full face, with its narrow eyes and 
broad cheek-bones. “ What is it, what or whom in all the world 
does she remind me of? ” But his w’eary brain, despite the effort 
he made, refused an answer. 

“ Of course,” he went on, “ it is true it is not so easy for me 
to get acclimatized up here. But that was to be expected. I’d be 
ashamed to chuck it up and go away like that, just because I 
felt upset and feverish for a few days. I’d feel a perfect coward. 
It would be a senseless thing to do, you admit it yourself, don’t 
you? ” 

He spoke with a sudden insistence, jerking his shoulders ex- 
citedly — he seemed to want to make the Italian withdraw his 
suggestion in form. 

“ I pay every homage to reason,” Settembrini answered. “ I 
pay homage to valour too. What you say sounds well; it would 
be hard to oppose anything convincing against it. I myself have 
seen some beautiful cases of acclimatization. There was Fraulein 
Kneifer, Ottilie Kneifer, last year. She came of a good family — 
the daughter of an important government official. She was here 
some year and a half and had grown to feel so much at home 
that when her health was quite restored — it does happen, up 
here; people do sometimes get well — she couldn’t bear to leave. 
She implored the Hofrat to let her stop; she could not and would 
not go; this was her home, she was happy here. But the place was 
full, they wanted her room, and so all her prayers were in vain; 
they stood out for discharging her cured. Ottilie was taken with 
high fever, her curve went well up. But they found her out by 
exchanging her regular thermometer for a ‘ silent sister.’ You 
aren’t acquainted as yet with the term; it is a thermometer without 
figures, which the physician measures with a little rule, and plots 
the curve himself. Ottilie, my dear sir, had 98.4°; she was normal. 
Then she went bathing in the lake - it was the beginning of May; 
we were having frost at night; the water was not percisely ice- 
cold, say a few degrees above. She remained some time in the 
water, trying to contract some illness or other — alas, she was, 
and remained, quite sound. She departed in anguish and despair, 
deaf to all the consolations her parents could give. 4 What shall 
I do down there? ’ she kept crying. ‘ This is my home! ’ I never 
heard what became of her. — But you are not listening, Engineer. 
Unless I am much mistaken, simply remaining on your legs costs 


D 



88 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


you an effort. Lieutenant! ” he addressed himself to Joachim, who 
was just coming up. “ Take your cousin and put him to bed. He 
umtes the virtues of courage and moderation — but just now he 
is a little groggy.” 

“ No, really, I understood everything you said,” protested Hans 
Castorp. “ The 4 silent sister ’ is a mercury thermometer without 
figures — you see, I got it all.” 

But he went up m the lift with Joachim and several other 
patients as well, for the conviviality was over for the evening; 
the guests were separating to seek the halls and loggias for the 
evening cure. Hans Castorp went into his cousin’s room. The 
corridor floor, with its strip of narrow coco matting, billowed 
beneath his feet, but this, apart from its singularity, was not un- 
pleasant. He sat down in Joachim’s great flowered arm-chair — 
there was one just like it in his own room — and lighted his Maria 
Mancini. It tasted like glue, like coal, like anything but what 
it should taste like. Still he smoked on, as he watched Joachim 
making ready for his cure, putting on his house jacket, then an 
old overcoat, then, armed with his night-lamp and Russian primer, 
going into the balcony. He turned on the light, lay down with 
his thermometer in his mouth, and began, with astonishing dex- 
terity, to wrap himself in the wo camels-hair rugs that were 
spread out over his chair. Hans Castorp looked on with honest 
admiration for his skill. He flung the covers over him, one after 
the other: first from the left side, all their length up to his 
shoulders, then from the feet up, then from the right side, so that 
he formed, when finished, a neat compact parcel, out of which 
stuck only his head, shoulders, and arms. 

“ How well you do that! ” Hans Castorp said. 

“ That’s the practice I’ve had,” Joachim answered, holding the 
thermometer between his teeth in order to speak. “ You’ll learn. 
To-morrow we must certainly get you a pair of rugs. You can 
use them afterwards at home, and up here they are indispensable, 
particularly as you have no sleeping-sack.” 

44 1 shan’t lie out on the balcony at night,” Hans Castorp de- 
clared. 44 1 can tell you that at once. It would seem perfectly weird 
to me. Everything has its limits. I must draw the line somewhere, 
since I’m really only up here on a visit. I will sit here awhile and 
smoke my cigar in the regular way. It tastes vile, but I know it’s 
good, and that will have to do me for to-day. It is close on nine — 
it isn’t even quite nine yet, more’s the pity — but when it is half 
past, that is late enough for a man to go to bed at least half-way 
decently.” 



SATANA MAKES PROPOSALS 


89 

A shiver ran over him, then several, one after the other. Hans 
Castorp sprang up and ran to the thermometer on the wall, as 
if to catch it in flagrante . According to the mercury, there were 
fifty degrees of heat in the room. He clutched the radiator; it 
was cold and dead. He murmured something incoherent, to the 
effect that it was a scandal to have no heating, even if it was 
August. It wasn’t a question of the name of the month, but of the 
temperature that obtained, which was such that actually he was 
as cold as a dog. Yet his face burned. He sat down, stood up again, 
and with a murmured request for permission fetched Joachim’s 
coverlet and spread it out over himself at he sat in the chair. And 
thus he remained, hot and cold by turns, torturing himself with 
his nauseous cigar. He was overcome bv a wave of wretchedness; 
it seemed to him he had never in his life before felt quite so 
miserable. 

“ I feel simply wretched,” he muttered. And suddenly he was 
moved by an extraordinary and extravagant thrill of joy and sus- 
pense, of which he was so conscious that he sat motionless waiting 
for it to come again. It did not — only the misery remained. He 
stood up at last, flung Joachim’s coverlet on the bed, and got 
something out that sounded like a good-night: “ Don’t freeze to 
death; call me again in the morning,” his lips hardly shaping the 
words; then he staggered along the corridor to his own room. 

He sang to himself as he undressed — certainly not from excess 
of spirits. Mechanically, without the care which was their due, 
he went through all the motions that made up the ritual of his 
nightly toilet; poured the pink mouth-wash and discreetly gar- 
gled, washed his hands with his mild and excellent violet soap, 
and drew on his long batiste night-shirt, with H.C. embroidered 
on the breast pocket. Then he lay down and put out the light, 
letting his hot and troubled head fall upon the American woman’s 
dying-pillow. 

He had thought to fall asleep at once, but he was wrong. His 
eyelids, which he had scarcely been able to hold up, now declined 
to close; they twitched rebelliously open whenever he shut them. 
He told himself that it was not his regular bed-time; that during 
the day he had probably rested too much. Someone seemed to 
be beating a carpet out of doors — which was not very probable, 
and proved not to be the case, for it was the beating of his own 
heart he heard, quite outside of himself and away in the night, ex- 
actly as though someone were beating a carpet with a wicker 
beater. 

It had not yet grown entirely dark in the room; the light from 



THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


90 

the little lamps in the loggias, Joachim’s and the Russian pair’s, 
fell through the open balcony door. As Hans Castorp lay there 
on his back blinking, he recalled an impression amongst the host 
received that day, an observation he had made, and then, with 
shrinking and delicacy, sought to forget. It was the look on 
Joachim’s face when they spoke of Marusja and her physical char- 
acteristics — an oddly pathetic facial distortion, and a spotted 
pallor on the sun-browned cheeks. Hans Castorp saw and under- 
stood what it meant, saw and understood in a manner so new, so 
sympathetic, so intimate, that the carpet-beater outside redoubled 
the swiftness and severity of its blows and almost drowned out 
the sound of the evening serenade down in the Platz — for there 
was a concert again in the same hotel as before, and they were 
playing a symmetrically constructed, insipid melody that came 
up through the darkness. Hans Castorp whistled a bar of it in a 
whisper — one can whistle in a whisper — and beat time with his 
cold feet under the plumeau. 

That was, of course, the right way not to go to sleep, and 
now he felt not the slightest inclination. Since he had under- 
stood in that new, penetrating sense why Joachim had changed 
colour, the whole world seemed altered to him, he felt pierced 
for the second time by that feeling of extravagant joy and sus- 
pense. And he waited for, expected something, without asking 
himself what. But when he heard his neighbours to right and left 
conclude their evening cure and re-enter their rooms to exchange 
the horizontal without for the horizontal within, he gave utter- 
ance to the conviction that at least this evening the barbaric pair 
would keep the peace. 

“ I can surely go to sleep without being disturbed; they will 
behave themselves,’’ he said. But they did not, nor had Hans Ca- 
storp been sincere in his conviction that they would. For his 
part, to tell the truth, he would not have understood it if they 
had. Notwithstanding which, he indulged in soundless expres- 
sions of utter astonishment as he listened. 

“ Unheard of,” he whispered. “ It’s incredible — who would 
have believed it? ” And between such exclamations joined again 
in the insipid music that swelled insistently up from the Platz. 

Later he went to sleep. But with sleep returned the involved 
dreams, even more involved than those of the first night — out 
of which he often started up in fright, or pursuing some con- 
fused fancy. He seemed to see Hofrat Behrens walking down 
the garden path, with bent knees and arms hanging stiffly in front 
of him, adapting his long and somehow solitary-looking stride 



SATANA MAKES PROPOSALS g j 

to the time of distant march-music. As he paused before Hans 
Castorp, the latter saw that he was wearing a pair of glasses with 
thick, round lenses. He was uttering all sorts of nonsense. “ A 
civilian, of course,” he said, and without saying by your leave, 
drew down Hans Castorp’s eyelid with the first and middle fingers 
of his huge hand. “ Respectable civilian, as I saw at once. But not 
without talent, not at all without talent for a heightened degree 
of oxidization. Wouldn’t grudge us a year, he wouldn’t, just one 
little short year of service up here. Well, hullo-ullo! gentlemen, 
on with the exercise,” he shouted, and putting his two enormous 
first fingers in his mouth, emitted a whistle of such peculiarly 
pleasing quality that from opposite directions Miss Robinson and 
the schoolmistress, much smaller than life-size, came flying 
through the air and perched themselves right and left on the 
Hofrat’s shoulders, just as they sat right and left of Hans Castorp 
in the dining-room. And the Hofrat skipped away, wiping his 
eyes behind his glasses with a table-napkin — but whether it was 
tears or sweat he wiped could not be told. 

Then it seemed to the dreamer that he was in the school court- 
yard, where for so many years through he had spent his recesses, 
and was in the act of borrowing a lead-pencil from Madame 
Chauchat, who seemed to be there too. She gave him a half-length 
red pencil in a silver holder, and warned him in an agreeable, 
husky voice to be sure to return it to her after the hour. And as 
she looked at him — with her narrow, blue-grey eyes above the 
broad cheek-bones — he tore himself by violence away from his 
dream, for now he had it fast and meant to hold it, of what and 
whom she so vividly reminded him. Hastily he fixed this occur- 
rence in his mind, to have it fast for the morrow. Then sleep 
and dream once more overpowered him, and he saw himself in 
the act of flight from Dr. Krokowski, who had lain in wait for 
him to undertake some psychoanalysis. He fled from the doctor, 
but his feet were leaden; past the glass partitions, along the bal- 
conies, into the garden; in his extremity he tried to climb the red- 
brown flagstaff — and woke perspiring at the moment when the 
pursuer seized him by his trouser-leg. 

Hardly was he calm when slumber claimed him once more. 
The content of his dream entirely changed, and he stood trying 
to shoulder Settembrini away from the spot where they stood, 
the Italian smiling in his subtle, mocking way, under the full, 
upward-curving moustaches — and it was precisely this smile 
which Hans Castorp found so injurious. 

u You are a nuisance,” he distinctly heard himself say. “ Get 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


9 2 

away, you are only a hand-organ man, and you are in the way 
here.” But Settembrini w r ould not let himself be budged; Hans 
Castorp was still standing considering what was to be done when 
he was unexpectedly vouchsafed a signal insight into the true 
nature of time; it proved to be nothing more or less than a “ silent 
sister,” a mercury column without degrees, to be used by those 
who wanted to cheat. He awoke with the thought in his mind 
that he must certainly tell Joachim of this discovery on the 
morrow. 

In such adventures, among such discoveries, the night wore 
away. Hermine Kleefeld, as well as Herr Albin and Captain Mik- 
losich, played fantastic roles — the last carried off Frau Stohr in 
his fury, and was pierced through and through with a lance by 
Lawyer Paravant. One particular dream, however, Hans Castorp 
dreamed twice over during the night, both times in precisely the 
same form, the second time toward morning. He sat in the dining- 
hall with the seven tables when there came a great crashing of 
glass as the verandah door banged, and Madame Chauchat en- 
tered in a white sweater, one hand in her pocket, the other at the 
back of her head. But instead of going to the “ good ” Russian 
table, the unmannerly female glided noiselessly to Hans Castorp’s 
side and without a word reached him her hand — not the back, 
but the palm — to kiss. Hans Castorp kissed that hand, which was 
not overly well kept, but rather broad, with stumpy fingers, the 
skin roughened next the nails. And at that there swept over him 
anew, from head to foot, the feeling of reckless sweetness he had 
felt for the first time when he tried to imagine himself free of the 
burden of a good name, and tasted the boundless joys of shame. 
This feeling he experienced anew in his dream, only a thousand- 
fold stronger than in his waking hour. 


CHAPTER IV 


Necessary Purchases 

“ Is your summer over now? ” Hans Castorp ironically asked his 
cousin, on the third day. 

There had come a violent change of scene. 

On the visitor’s second full day up here, the most brilliant sum- 
mer weather prevailed. Above the aspiring lance-shaped tips of 
the fir-trees the sky gleamed deepest blue, the village down in 
the valley glared white in the heat, and the air was filled 
with the sound, half gay, half pensive, of bells, from the cows that 
roamed the slopes, cropping the short, sun-warmed meadow 
grass. At early breakfast the ladies appeared in lingerie blouses, 
some with open-work sleeves, which did not become them all 
alike. In particular it did not suit Frau Stohr, the skin of whose 
arms was too porous, such a fashion was distinctly not for her. 
The masculine population too had in various ways taken 
cognizance of the fine weather: they sported mohair coats and 
linen suits — Joachim Ziemssen had put on white flannel trou- 
sers with his blue coat, and thus arrayed looked more military 
than ever. 

As for Settembrini, he had more than once announced his in- 
tention of changing. “ Heavens, how hot the sun is! ” he said, as 
he and the cousins strolled down to the village after luncheon. 
“ I see I shall have to put on thinner clothes.” Yet after this ex- 
plicit expression of his intentions, he continued to appear in his 
check trousers and pilot coat with the wide lapels. They were 
probably all his wardrobe could boast. 

But on the third day it seemed as though nature suffered a sud- 
den reserve; everything turned topsyturvy. Hans Castorp could 
scarcely trust his eyes. It happened when they were lying in their 
balconies, some twenty minutes after the midday meal. Swiftly 
the sun hid its face, ugly turf-coloured clouds drew up over the 
south-western ridge, and a wind from a strange quarter, whose 
chill pierced to the marrow, as though it came out of some un- 



THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


94 

known icy region, swept suddenly through the valley; down went 
the thermometer — a new order obtained. 

“ Snow,” said Joachim’s voice, behind the glass partition. 

“ What do you mean, snow? ” Hans Castorp asked him. “ You 
don’t mean to say it is going to snow now? ” 

“ Certainly,” answered Joachim. “ We know that wind. When 
it comes, it means sleighing.” 

“ Rubbish! ” Hans Castorp said. “ If I remember rightly, it is 
the beginning of August.” 

But Joachim, versed in the signs of the region, knew whereof 
he spoke. For in a few minutes, accompanied by repeated claps 
of thunder, a furious snow-storm set in, so heavy that the land- 
scape seemed wrapped in white smoke, and of village and valley 
scarcely anything could be seen. 

It snowed away all the afternoon. The heat was turned on. 
Joachim availed himself of his fur sack, and was not deterred 
from the service of the cure; but Hans Castorp took refuge in 
his room, pushed up a chair to the hot pipes, and remained there, 
looking with frequent head-shakings at the enormity outside. 
By next morning the storm had ceased. The thermometer showed 
a few degrees above freezing, but the snow lay a foot deep, and 
a completely wintry landscape spread itself before Hans Castorp's 
astonished eyes. They had turned off the heat. The temperature 
of the room was 45 °. 

“ Is your summer over now? ” Hans Castorp asked his cousin, 
in bitter irony. 

“ You can’t tell,” answered the matter-of-fact Joachim. “We 
may have fine summer weather yet. Even in September it is very 
possible. The truth is, the seasons here are not so distinct from 
each other; they run in together, so to speak, and don’t keep to 
the calendar. The sun in winter is often so strong that you take 
off your coat, and perspire as you walk. And in summer — well, 
you see for yourself! And then the snow, that puts out all one’s 
calculations. It snows in January, but in May not much less, and, 
as you observe, it snows in August too. On the whole, one may 
say there is never a month without snow; you may take that for 
a rule. In short, there are winter days and summer days, spring 
and autumn days; but regular seasons we don’t actually have 
up here.” 

“ A fine mixed-up state of affairs,” said Hans Castorp. In over- 
coat and galoshes he went with his cousin down to the village, 
to buy himself blankets for the out-of-doors cure, since it was 
plain his plaid would not suffice. For the moment he even weighed 



NECESSARY PURCHASES 


95 

the thought of purchasing a fur sack as well, but gave it up, in- 
deed, felt a certain revulsion from the idea. r ’ 

No, no, he said, we 11 stop at the covers. I’ll have use for 
them down below, and everybody has covers; there’s nothing 
strange or exciting about them. But a fur sack is altogether too 
special if I buy one, it is as if I were going to settle down here, 
as if I belonged, understand what I mean? No, for the present we’ll 
let it go at that; it would absolutely not be worth while to buy a 
sack for the few weeks I’m up here.” 

Joachim agreed, and they acquired two camel’s-hair rugs like 
his own, in a fine and well-stocked shop in the English quarter. 
They were in natural colour, long, broad, and delightfully soft, 
and were to be sent at once to the International Sanatorium Berg- 
hof, Room 34: Hans Castorp looked forward to using them that 
very afternoon. 

This, of course, was after second breakfast, for otherwise the 
daily programme left no time sufficient to go down into the 
Platz. It was raining now, and the snow in the streets had turned 
to a slush that spattered as they w T aiked. They overtook Settem- 
brini on the road, climbing up to the sanatorium under an um- 
brella, bare-headed. The Italian looked sallow; his mood was ob- 
viously elegiac. In well-chosen, clearly enunciated phrases he 
complained of the cold and damp from which he suffered so 
bitterly. If they would only heat the building! But the ruling 
powers, in their penuriousness, had the fire go out directly it 
stopped snowing — an idiotic rule, an insult to human intelligence. 
Hans Castorp objected that presumably a moderate temperature 
was part of the regimen of the cure; it would certainly not do to 
coddle the patients. But Settembnni answered with embittered 
scorn. Oh, of course, the regimen of the cure! Those august and 
inviolate rules! Hans Castorp was right in referring to them, as 
he did, with bated breath. Yet it was rather striking (of course 
only in the pleasantest sense) that the rules most honoured in the 
observance were precisely those which chimed with the financial 
interest of the proprietors of the establishment, whereas, on the 
other hand, to those less favourable they were inclined to shut an 
eye. The cousins laughed, and Settembnni began to speak of his 
deceased father, who had been brought to his mind in connexion 
with the talk about heated rooms. 

“ My father,” he said slowly, in tones replete with filial piety, 
“ my father was a most delicately organized man, sensitive in 
body as in soul. How he did love his tiny, warm little study! In 
winter a temperature of twenty degrees Reaumur must always 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


96 

obtain there, by means of a small red-hot stove. When you entered 
it from the corridor on a day of cold and damp, or when the 
cutting tramontana blew, the warmth of it laid itself about you 
like a shawl, so that for very pleasure your eyes would fill with 
tears. The little room was stuffed with books and manuscripts, 
some of them of great value; he stood among them, at his narrow 
desk, in his blue flannel night-shirt, and devoted himself to the 
service of letters. He was small and delicately built, a good head 
shorter than I — imagine! — but with great tufts of grey hair on 
his temples, and a nose — how long and pointed it was! And what 
a Romanist, my friends! One of the first of his time, with a rare 
mastery of our own tongue, and a Latin stylist such as no 
longer exists — ah, a ‘ uomo letterato ’ after Boccaccio’s own 
heart! From far and wide scholars came to converse with him — 
one from Haparanda, another from Cracow — they came to our 
city of Padua, expressly to pay him homage, and ne received them 
with dignified friendliness. He was a poet of distinction too, com- 
posing in his leisure tales in the most elegant Tuscan prose — he 
was a master of the idioma gentile ” Settembrini said, rolling his 
native syllables with the utmost relish on his tongue and turning 
his head from side to side. “ He laid out his little garden after 
Virgil’s own plan — and all that he said was sane and beautiful. 
But warm, warm he must have it in his little room; otherwise he 
would tremble with cold, and he could weep with anger if they 
let him freeze. And now imagine, Engineer, and you, Lieutenant, 
what I, the son of my father, must suffer in this accursed and bar- 
barous land, where even at summer’s height the body shakes with 
cold, and the spirit is tortured and debased by the sights it sees. — 
Oh, it is hard! What types about us! This frantic devil of a Hof rat, 
Krokowski ” — Settembrini pretended to trip over the name — 
“ Krokowski, the father-confessor, who hates me because I’ve too 
much human dignity to lend myself to his papish practices. — And 
at my table — what sort of society is that in which I am forced to 
take my food? At my right sits a brewer from Halle — Magnus 
by name — with a moustache like a bundle of hay. ‘ Don’t talk 
to me about literature,’ says he. ‘ What has it to offer? Anything 
but beautiful characters? What have I to do with beautiful char- 
acters? I am a practical man, and in life I come into contact with 
precious few.’ That is the idea he has of literature — beautiful 
characters! Mother of God! His wife sits there opposite him, 
losing flesh all the time, and sinking further and further into 
idiocy. It is a filthy shame.” 

Hans Castorp and Joachim were in silent agreement about this 



NECESSARY PURCHASES 


97 

talk of Settembrini’s: they found it querulous and seditious in 
tone, if also highly entertaining and “ plastic ” in its verbal pun- 
gency and animus. Hans Castorp laughed good-humouredly over 
the “ bundle of hay,” likewise over the “ beautiful characters 
or, rather, the drolly despairing way Settembrini spoke of them. 

Then he said: “ Good Lord, yes, the society is always mixed 
in a place like this, I suppose. One’s not allowed to choose one’s 
table-mates — that would lead to goodness knows what! At our 
table there is a woman of the same sort, a Frau Stohr — I think 
you know her? Ghastly ignorant, I must say — sometimes when 
she rattles on, one doesn’t know where to look. But she complains 
a lot about her temperature, and how relaxed she feels, and I’m 
afraid she is by no means a light case. That seems so strange to 
me: diseased and stupid both — I don’t exactly know how to ex- 
press it, but it gives me a most peculiar feeling, when somebody 
is so stupid, and then ill into the bargain. It must be the most 
melancholy thing in life. One doesn’t know what to make of it; 
one wants to feel a proper respect for illness, of course — after 
all there is a certain dignity about it, if you like. But when such 
asininity comes on top of it — ‘ cosmic ’ for ‘ cosmetic,’ and other 
howlers like that — one doesn’t know whether to laugh or to 
weep. It is a regular dilemma for the human feelings — I find it 
more deplorable than I can say. What I mean is, it’s not con- 
sistent, it doesn’t hang together; I can’t get used to the idea. One 
always has the idea of a stupid man as perfectly healthy and 
ordinary, and of illness as making one refined and clever and un- 
usual. At least as a rule — or I don’t know, perhaps I am saying 
more than I could stand for,” he finished. “ It was only because 
we happened to speak of it — ” He stopped in confusion. 

Joachim too looked rather uncomfortable, and Settembrini 
lifted his eyebrows and said not a word, with an air of waiting 
politely for the end of his speech. He was, in fact, holding off 
until Hans Castorp should break down entirely before he an- 
swered. But now he said: u Sapristi, Engineer! You are display- 
ing a most unexpected gift of philosophy! By your own theory, 
you must be yourself more ailing than you look, you are so 
obviously possessed of esprit. But, if you will permit me to say 
so, I can hardly subscribe to your deductions; I must deny them; 
my position is one of absolute dissent. I am, as you see, rather 
intolerant than otherwise in things of the intellect; I would 
rather be reproached as a pedant than suffer to pass unchallenged 
a point of view which seemed to me so untenable as this of yours. 

“ But, Herr Settembrini, I — ” 


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98 

“ Per — mit me. I know what you would say: that the views 
you represent are not, of necessity, your own; that you have 
only chanced upon that one of all the possible ones there are, as it 
were, in the air, and you try it on, without personal responsi- 
bility. It befits your time of life, thus to avoid the settled con- 
victions of the mature man, and to make experiments with a 
variety of points of view. Placet experiri ” he quoted, giving the 
Italian pronunciation to the c. “ That is a good saying. But what 
troubles me is that your experiment should lead you in just this 
direction. I doubt if it is a question of sheer chance. I fear the 
presence of a general tendency, which threatens to crystallize 
into a trait of character, unless one makes head against it. I feel 
it my duty, therefore, to correct you. You said that the sight 
of dullness and disease going hand in hand must be the most 
melancholy in life. I grant you, I grant you that. I too prefer an 
intelligent ailing person to a consumptive idiot. But I take issue 
where you regard the combination of disease with dullness as a 
sort of aesthetic inconsistency, an error in taste on the part of 
nature, a ‘ dilemma for the human feelings,' as you were pleased 
to express yourself. When you professed to regard disease as 
something so refined, so — what did you call it? — possessing a 
‘ certain dignity ’ — that it doesn’t ‘ go with ’ stupidity. That was 
the expression you used. Well, I say no! Disease has nothing re- 
fined about it, nothing dignified. Such a conception is in itself 
pathological, or at least tends in that direction. Perhaps I may 
best arouse your mistrust of it if I tell you how ancient and ugly 
this conception is. It comes down to us from a past seething with 
superstition, in which the idea of humanity had degenerated and 
deteriorated into sheer caricature; a past full of fears, in which 
well-being and harmony were regarded as suspect and emanating 
from the devil, whereas infirmity was equivalent to a free pass 
to heaven. Reason and enlightenment have banished the darkest 
of these shadows that tenanted the soul of man — nor entirely, for 
even yet the conflict is in progress. But this conflict, my dear 
sirs, means work, earthly labour, labour for the earth, for the 
honour and the interests of mankind; and by that conflict daily 
steeled anew, the powers of reason and enlightenment will 
in the end set humanity wholly free and lead it in the path of 
progress and civilization toward an even brighter, milder, and 
purer light.” 

“ Lord bless us,” thought Hans Castorp, in shamefaced conster- 
nation. “ What a homily! How, I wonder, did I call all that down 
on my head? I must say, I find it rather prosy. And why does he 



NECESSARY PURCHASES 


99 

talk so much about work all the time? It is his constant theme; 
not a very pertinent one up here, one would think.” Aloud he 
said: “ How beautifully you do talk, Herr Settembrini! What you 
say is very well worth hearing — and could not be more — more 
plastically expressed, I should think.” 

“ Backsliding,” continued Settembrini, as he lifted his umbrella 
away above the head of a passer-by, “ spiritual backsliding in the 
direction of that dark and tortured age, that, believe me, Engineer, 
is disease — a disease already sufficiently studied , to which vari- 
ous names have been given: one from the terminology of aesthetics 
and psychology, another from the domain of politics — all of them 
academic terms which are not to the point, and which I will 
spare you. But as in the spiritual life everything is interrelated, one 
thing growing out of another, and since one may not reach out 
one’s little finger to the Devil, lest he take the whole hand, and 
therewith the whole man; since, on the other side, a sound prin- 
ciple can produce only sound results, no matter which end one 
begins at — so disease, far from being something too refined, too 
worthy of reverence, to be associated with dullness, is, in itself, 
a degradation of mankind, a degradation painful and offensive to 
conceive. It may, in the individual case, be treated with consider- 
ation; but to pay it homage is — mark my words — an aberration, 
and the beginning of intellectual confusion. This woman you 
have mentioned to me — you will pardon me if I do not trouble 
to recall her name — ah, thank you, Frau Stohr — it is not, it seems 
to me, the case of this ridiculous woman which places the human 
feelings in the dilemma to which you refer. She is ill, and she 
is limited; her case is hopeless, and the matter is simple. There is 
nothing left but to pity and shrug one’s shoulders. The dilemma, 
my dear sir, the tragedy, begins where nature has been cruel 
enough to split the personality, to shatter its harmony by im- 
prisoning a noble and ardent spirit within a body not fit for the 
stresses of life. Have you heard of Leopardi, Engineer, or you, 
Lieutenant? An unhappy poet of my own land, a crippled, ail- 
ing man, bom with a great soul, which his sufferings were con- 
stantly humiliating and dragging down into the depths of irony — 
its lamentations rend the heart to hear.” 

And Settembrini began to recite in Italian, letting the beauti- 
ful syllables melt upon his tongue, as he closed his eyes and 
swayed his head from side to side, heedless that his hearers 
understood not a syllable. Obviously it was all done for the 
sake of impressing his companions with his memory and his 
pronunciation. 


IOO 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


“ But you don't understand; you hear the words, yet without 
grasping their tragic import. My dear sirs, can you comprehend 
what it means when I tell you that it was the love of woman 
which the crippled Leopardi was condemned to renounce; that 
this it principally was which rendered him incapable of avoid- 
ing the embitterment of his soul? Fame and virtue were shadows 
to him, nature an evil power — and so she is, stupid and evil both, 
I agree with him there — he even despaired, horrible to say, he 
even despaired of science and progress! Here, Engineer, is the 
true tragedy. Here you have your ‘ dilemma for the human feel- 
ings,’ here, and not in the case of that wretched woman, with 
whose name I really cannot burden my memory. Do not, for 
heaven’s sake, speak to me of the ennobling effects of physical 
suffering! A soul without a body is as inhuman and horrible as a 
body without a soul — though the latter is the rule and the former 
the exception. It is the body, as a rule, which flourishes exceed- 
ingly, which draws everything to itself, which usurps the pre- 
dominant place and lives repulsively emancipated from the soul. 
A human being who is first of all an invalid is all body; therein lies 
his inhumanity and his debasement. In most cases he is little better 
than a carcass — ” 

“ Funny,” Joachim said, bending forward to look at his cousin, 
on Herr Settembrini’s farther side. “ You were saying something 
quite like that just lately.” 

“ Was I? ” said Hans Castorp. “ Yes, it may be something of 
the kind went through my head.” 

Settembrini was silent a few paces. Then he said: “So much 
the better. So much the better if that is true. I am far from claim- 
ing to expound an original philosophy — such is not my office. 
If our engineer here has been making observations in harmony 
with my own, that only confirms my surmise that he is an in- 
tellectual amateur and up to the present, as is the wont of gifted 
youth, still experimenting with various points of view. The young 
man with parts is no unwritten page, he is rather one upon which 
all the writing has already been done, in sympathetic ink, the 
good and the bad together; it is the schoolmaster’s task to bring 
out the good, to obliterate for ever the bad, by the methods of his 
profession. — You have been making purchases? ” he asked, in a 
lighter tone. 

“ No,” Hans Castorp said. “ That is, nothing but — ” 

“ We ordered a pair of blankets for my cousin,” Joachim an- 
swered unconcernedly. 

“For the afternoon cure — it’s got so beastly cold; and I am 



IOI 


NECESSARY PURCHASES 

supposed to do as the Romans do, up here,” Hans Castorp said, 
laughing and looking at the ground. 

“ Ah ha! Blankets — the cure,” Settembrini said. “ Yes, yes. 
In fact: placet experiri ” he repeated, with his Italian pronun- 
ciation, and took his leave, for their conversation had brought 
them to the door of the sanatorium, where they greeted the lame 
concierge in his lodge. Settembrini turned off into one of the 
sitting-rooms, to read the newspapers before luncheon. He evi- 
dently meant to cut the second rest period. 

“ Bless us and keep us! ” Hans Castorp said to Joachim, as they 
stood in the lift. “ What a pedagogue it is! He said himself that 
he had the ‘ pedagogic itch.’ One has to watch out with him, 
not to say more than one means, or he is down on you at once 
with all his doctrines. But after all, it is w r orth listening to, he 
talks so well; the w T ords come jumping out of his mouth so round 
and appetizing — when I listen to him, I keep seeing a picture 
of fresh hot rolls in my mind’s eye ” 

Joachim laughed. “ Better not tell him that. He’d be very put 
out I’m sure, to hear the sort of image his words call up in your 
mind.” 

“ Think so? I’m not so sure. I get the impression that it is not 
simply and solely for the sake of edifying us that he talks; per- 
haps that’s only a secondary motive. The important one, I feel 
sure, is the talk itself, the way he makes his words roll out, so 
resilient, just like a lot of rubber balls! He is very pleased when 
you notice the effect. I suppose Magnus, the brewer, was rather 
stupid, after all, w T ith his 4 beautiful characters ’; but I do think 
Settembrini might have said what the point really is in literature. 
I did not like to ask, for fear of putting my foot in it; I am not 
just clear about it, and this is the first time I have ever known a 
literary man. But if it isn’t the beautiful characters, then ob- 
viously it must be the beautiful words, and that is the impression 
I get from being in Settembrini’s society. What a vocabulary! 
and he uses the word virtue just like that, without the slightest em- 
barrassment. What do you make of that? I’ve never taken the 
word in my mouth as long as I’ve lived; in school, when the book 
said 4 virtusj we always just said 4 valour 5 or something like that. 
It certainly gave me a queer feeling in my inside, to hear him. 
And it makes me nervous to hear him scolding, about the cold, and 
Behrens, and Frau Magnus because she is losing weight, and about 
pretty well everything. He is a born objector, I saw that at once, 
down on the existing order; and that always gives me the impres- 
sion that the person is spoilt — I can’t help it.” 


102 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


“You say that,” Joachim answered consideringly, “and yet 
he has a kind of pride about him that makes an altogether dif- 
ferent impression: as of a man who has great respect for himself, 
or for humanity in general; and I like that about him; it has some- 
thing good, in my eyes.” 

“ You are right, there,” Hans Castorp answered. “ He’s even 
austere; he makes one feel rather uncomfortable, as if you were 
— well, shall I say as if you were being taken to task? That’s not 
such a bad way to describe it. Can you believe it, I had the feel- 
ing he was not at all pleased at my buying the blankets? He had 
something against it, and he kept dwelling on it.” 

“ Oh, no,” Joachim said after reflecting, in some surprise. 
“ How could he have? I shouldn’t think so.” And then, ther- 
mometer in mouth, with sack and pack, he went to lie down, while 
Hans Castorp began at once to wash and change for dinner — 
which was rather less than an hour away. 

Excursus on the Sense of Time 

When they came upstairs after the meal, the parcel containing 
the blankets lay on a chair in Hans Castorp’s room; and that after- 
noon he made use of them for the first time. The experienced 
Joachim instructed him in the art of wrapping himself up, as 
practised in the sanatorium; they all did it, and each new-comer 
had to learn. First the covers were spread, one after the other, 
over the chair, so that a sizable piece hung down at the foot. 
Then you sat down and began to put the inner one about you: 
first lengthwise, on both sides, up to the shoulders, and then from 
the feet up, stooping over as you sat and grasping the folded-over 
end, first from one side and then from the other, taking care to 
fit it neatly into the length, in order to ensure the greatest pos- 
sible smoothness and evenness. Then you did precisely the same 
thing with the outer blanket — it was somewhat more difficult 
to handle, and our neophyte groaned not a little as he stooped 
and stretched out his arms to practise the grips his cousin showed 
him. Only a few old hands, Joachim said, could wield both 
blankets at once, flinging them into position with three self- 
assured motions. This was a rare and enviable facility, to which 
belonged not only long years of practice, but a certain knack 
as well. Hans Castorp had to laugh at this, lying back in his chair 
with aching muscles; Joachim did not at once see anything funny 
in what he had said, and looked at him dubiously, but finally 
laughed too. 



EXCURSUS 


103 

“ There,” he said, when Hans Castorp lay at last limbless and 
cylindrical in his chair, with the yielding roll at the back of his 
neck, quite worn out with all these gymnastic exercises; “ there, 
nothing can touch you now, not even if we were to have ten 
below zero.” He withdrew behind the partition, to do himself 
up in his turn. 

That about the ten below zero Hans Castorp doubted; he was 
even now distinctly cold. He shivered repeatedly as he lay look- 
ing out through the wooden arch at the reeking, dripping damp 
outside, which seemed on the point of passing over into snow. 
It was strange that with all that humidity his cheeks still burned 
with a dry heat, as though he were sitting in an over-heated room. 
He felt absurdly tired from the practice of putting on his rugs; 
actually, as he held up Ocean Steamships to read it, the book shook 
in his hands. So very fit he certainly was not — and totally anaemic, 
as Hof rat Behrens had said; this, no doubt, was why he was so 
susceptible to cold. But such unpleasing sensations were out- 
weighed by the great comfort of his position, the unanalysable, 
the almost mysterious properties of his reclining-chair, which he 
had applauded even on his first experience of it, and which re- 
asserted themselves in the happiest way whenever he resorted to 
it anew. Whether due to the character of the upholstering, the 
inclination of the chair-back, the exactly proper width and height 
of the arms, or only to the appropriate consistency of the neck 
roll, the result was that no more comfortable provision for re- 
laxed limbs could be conceived than that purveyed by this ex- 
cellent chair. The heart of Hans Castorp rejoiced in the blessed 
fact that two vacant and securely tranquil hours lay before him, 
dedicated by the rules of the house to the principal cure of the 
day; he felt it — though himself but a guest up here — to be a most 
suitable arrangement. For he was by nature and temperament 
passive, could sit without occupation hours on end, and loved, as 
we know, to see time spacious before him, and not to have the 
sense of its passing banished, wiped out or eaten up by prosaic 
activity. At four o’clock he partook of afternoon tea, with cake 
and jam. Followed a little movement in the open air, then rest 
again, then supper — which, like all the other meal-times, afforded 
a certain stimulus for eye and brain, and a certain sense of strain; 
after that a peep into one or other of the optical toys, the stereo- 
scope, the kaleidoscope, the cinematograph. It might be still too 
much to say that Hans Castorp had grown used to the life up here; 
but at least he did have the daily routine at his fingers ends. 

There is, after all, something peculiar about the process of habit- 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


IO4 

uating oneself in a new place, the often laborious fitting in and 
getting used, which one undertakes for its own sake, and of set 
purpose to break it all off as soon as it is complete, or not long 
thereafter, and to return to one’s former state. It is an interval, an 
interlude, inserted, with the object of recreation, into the tenor of 
life’s main concerns; its purpose the relief of the organism, which is 
perpetually busy at its task of self-renewal, and which was in dan- 
ger, almost in process, of being vitiated, slowed down, relaxed, by 
the bald, unjointed monotony of its daily course. But what then is 
the cause of this relaxation, this slowing-down that takes place 
when one does the same thing for too long at a time? It is not so 
much physical or mental fatigue or exhaustion, for if that were the 
case, then complete rest would be the best restorative. It is rather 
something psychical; it means that the perception of time tends, 
through periods of unbroken uniformity, to fall away; the percep- 
tion of time, so closely bound up with the consciousness of life 
that the one may not be weakened without the other suffering a 
sensible impairment. Many false conceptions are held concerning 
the nature of tedium. In general it is thought that the interesting- 
ness and novelty of the time-content are what “ make the time 
pass ”; that is to say, shorten it; whereas monotony and emptiness 
check and restrain its flow. This is only true with reservations. 
Vacuity, monotony, have, indeed, the property of lingering out 
the moment and the hour and of making them tiresome. But they 
are capable of contracting and dissipating the larger, the very large 
time-units, to the point of reducing them to nothing at all. And 
conversely, a full and interesting content can put wings to the 
hour and the day; yet it will lend to the general passage of time a 
weightiness, a breadth and solidity which cause the eventful years 
to flow far more slowly than those poor, bare, empty ones over 
which the wind passes and they are gone. Thus what we call te- 
dium is rather an abnormal shortening of the time consequent 
upon monotony. Great spaces of time passed in unbroken uni- 
formity tend to shrink together in a way to make the heart stop 
beating for fear; when one day is like all the others, then they are 
all like one; complete uniformity would make the longest life seem 
short, and as though it had stolen away from us unawares. Habitu- 
ation is a falling asleep or fatiguing of the sense of time; which ex- 
plains why young years pass slowly, while later life flings itself 
faster and faster upon its course. We are aware that the intercala- 
tion of periods of change and novelty is the only means by which 
we can refresh our sense of time, strengthen, retard, and rejuve- 
nate it, and therewith renew our perception of life itself. Such is 



EXCURSUS 


105 


the purpose of our changes of air and scene, of all our sojourns at 
cures and bathing resorts; it is the secret of the healing power of 
change and incident. Our first days in a new place, time has a 
youthful, that is to say, a broad and sweeping, flow, persisting for 
some six or eight days. Then, as one “ gets used to the place,” a 
gradual shrinkage makes itself felt. He who clings or, better ex- 
pressed, wishes to cling to life, will shudder to see how the days 
grow light and lighter, how they scurry by like dead leaves, until 
the last week, of some four, perhaps, is uncannily fugitive and 
fleet. On the other hand, the quickening of the sense of time will 
flow out beyond the interval and reassert itself after the return to 
ordinary existence: the first days at home after the holiday will be 
lived with a broader flow, freshly and youthfully — but only the 
first few, for one adjusts oneself more quickly to the rule than to 
the exception; and if the sense of time be already weakened by 
age, or — and this is a sign of low vitality — it was never very well 
developed, one drowses quickly back into the old life, and after 
four-and-twenty hours it is as though one had never been away, 
and the journey had been but a watch in the night. 

We have introduced these remarks here only because our young 
Hans Castorp had something like them in mind when, a few days 
later, he said to his cousin, and fixed him with his bloodshot eyes: 
“ I shall never cease to find it strange that the time seems to go so 
slowly in a new place. I mean — of course it isn’t a question of my 
being bored; on the contrary, I might say that I am royally enter- 
tained. But when I look back — in retrospect, that is, you under- 
stand — it seems to me I’ve been up here goodness only knows how 
long; it seems an eternity back to the time when I arrived, and did 
not quite understand that I was there, and you said: 4 Just get out 
here ’ — don’t you remember 13 — That has nothing whatever to do 
with reason, or with the ordinary ways of measuring time; it is 
purely a matter of feeling. Certainly it would be nonsense for me 
to say: 4 1 feel I have been up here two months ’ — it would be 
silly. All I can say is 4 very long.’ ” 

44 Yes,” Joachim answered, thermometer in mouth, 44 1 profit by 
it too; while you are here, I can sort of hang on by you, as it 
were.” Hans Castorp laughed, to hear his cousin speak thus, quite 
simply, without explanation. 

He Practises His French 

No, after all, he was by no means, even yet, adjusted to his sur- 
roundings. Neither in familiarity with the features peculiar to life 



io 6 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


as lived up here — a familiarity impossible to achieve in so few 
days, which, as he was quite aware, and had even said to Joachim, 
he could hardly hope to acquire in the three weeks of his stay — 
nor in the adaptation of his physical organism to the prevailing 
peculiar atmospheric conditions. For this adaptation was bitterly 
hard; so hard, indeed, that it looked as though it would never be 
a success. 

The daily routine was clearly articulated, carefully organized; 
one fell quickly into step and, by yielding oneself to the general 
drift, was soon proficient. After that, indeed, within the weekly 
round, and also within other larger divisions of time, one dis- 
covered the existence of certain regular variations of the pro- 
gramme, which showed themselves, one at a time, a second one 
sometimes appearing only after the first had repeated itself. But 
even the phenomena of everyday life held much that Hans Ca- 
storp had still to learn: faces and facts already noted had to be 
conned, new ones to be absorbed with youth’s receptivity. 

Those great-bellied vessels, for example, with the short necks, 
which he had noticed the first evening standing in the corridors 
before certain doors. They contained oxygen; he had asked, and 
Joachim informed him. That was pure oxygen, six francs the con- 
tainer. The reviving gas was given the dying in a last effort to 
kindle or reinforce their strength. They drew it up through a tube. 
For behind those doors where such vessels were placed lay the 
dying — the “ moribundi” as Herr Hofrat Behrens called them 
when Hans Castorp met him one day in the first storey. Purple of 
cheek, in his white smock-frock, he rowed along the corridor, and 
they went down the steps together. 

“Well, and how are you, you disinterested spectator, you? ” 
said Behrens. “ Are we finding favour in your critical eye, what? 
Thanks so much. Yes, yes, our summer season, it’s not too bad, 
there’s something to be said for it. I’ve spent a little money myself 
to push it. But it’s a pity you won’t be here in the winter — you’re 
stopping only eight weeks, I hear? Ah, three? That’s nothing but 
a week-end! — won’t pay you to take off your hat. Oh well, just 
as you think. Only it is a pity you won’t be here for the winter; 
that’s when the nobs come,” he said comically, “ the international 
nobs, down in the Platz; they don’t come except in winter — you 
ought to see them, if only for the sake of your education. Regular 
high-flyers. You ought to see the jumps they make with those 
skis of theirs. And then the ladies! O Lord, the ladies! Birds of 
paradise, I tell you, and regularly out for adventure. Well, I must 
go in here, to my moribimdus , number twenty-seven. Last stage, 



HE PRACTISES HIS FRENCH 


107 

you know — off centre. Five dozen fiascos of oxygen he’s had all 
together, yesterday and to-day, the soak! But he will be going to 
his own place by middle-day. Well, my dear Reuter,” he was 
saying as he entered, “ what do you say — shall we break the neck 
of another bottle? ” The sound of his words died away as he 
closed the door. But Hans Castorp had had a moment’s glimpse 
into the background of the room, where on the pillow lay the 
waxen profile of a young man with a little chin beard, who slowly 
rolled his great eyeballs toward the open door. 

This was the first dying man Hans Castorp had ever seen; for 
his father and mother, and his grandfather too had died, so to 
speak, behind his back. How full of dignity the young man’s head, 
with the little beard thrust upward, had lain upon his pillow! How 
speaking the glance those unnaturally great eyes had slowly turned 
upon the door! Hans Castorp, still quite absorbed by that glimpse, 
instinctively tried to make his own eyes as large, as slowly gazing 
and meaningful as those of the dying man, walking on as he did 
so, toward the stairs, and encountering a lady who came out of a 
room behind him and overtook him at the landing. He did not at 
once realize that it was Madame Chauchat; she, on her side, smiled 
at the eyes he was making at her, put her hands to the braids at the 
back of her head, and passed before him down the stairs, soundless, 
supple, with her head somewhat thrust out. 

Acquaintances he made scarcely any in these early days, nor for 
a long time afterwards. The daily routine was not favourable. 
Hans Castorp, too, was of a retiring disposition, felt himself very 
much the “ disinterested spectator,” as Hofrat Behrens had called 
him, and was in general content with the society and conversation 
of his cousin Joachim. The corridor nurse, indeed, continued to 
crane her neck after them, until Joachim, who had already fa- 
voured her with a little converse now and then, introduced his 
cousin. She wore the ribbon of her pince-nez tucked behind her 
ear, and spoke with excruciating affectation. On closer acquaint- 
ance, indeed, one got the impression that her reason had suffered 
on the rack of continual boredom. It was hard to get away from 
her, she showed such evident distress whenever the conversation 
gave signs of languishing; when the cousins seemed about to go on 
their way, she sought to hold them by a stream of words, by 
glances and despairing smiles, until, for very pity, they refrained. 
She spoke at random, of her papa, who was a jurist, and of her 
cousin, who was a physician — obviously with the idea of present- 
ing herself in a good light and impressing them with her cultured 



io8 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


origin. Her present charge, she said, was the son of a Coburg doll- 
manufacturer, named Rotbein; the disease had attacked young 
Fritz’s intestinal tract. That was hard for all concerned; the gentle- 
men could understand how hard it was, for one who came from 
cultured surroundings and had the delicacy of feeling of the upper 
classes. And one couldn’t turn one’s back a minute. A little time 
ago she had just gone out a few minutes — to get some tooth- 
powder, in fact; when she came back, there sat her patient in bed, 
with a glass of stout, a salame, a thick wedge of rye bread, and a 
pickle before him. All these clandestine dainties his family had sent 
to give him strength. The next day, of course, he was more dead 
than alive. He was himself hastening his own end. But that would 
be only a mercy for him, a blessed relief. For her, Sister Berta, 
however — whose real name was Alfreda Schildknecht — it would 
mean little or nothing; she would just go on to another case, in a 
more or less advanced stage, either here or elsewhere; such was the 
prospect that opened before her — and there was no other. 

Yes, Hans Castorp said, her calling was a hard one, but satisfy- 
ing, he should think. 

Of course, she answered, it was. Satisfying, but very hard. 

Well, kind regards to the patient — and the cousins tried to take 
leave. 

But she so hung upon them, with words and looks, that it was 
painful to see, putting forth all her powers to hold them only a 
little longer — it would have been cruel not to have vouchsafed 
her another few minutes. 

“ He is asleep,” she said. “ He does not need me. I came out here 
for a second or so.” She began complaining about Hofrat Behrens, 
whose manner with her was altogether too free, considering her 
origin. She much preferred Dr. Krokowski, she found him so full 
of soul. Then she returned to her papa and her cousin, her mental 
resources being exhausted. In vain she struggled to hold the young 
men, letting her voice rise until it was almost a shriek as she saw 
them moving. They escaped her finally and went; she kept on 
looking after them awhile, her body bent forward, her gaze so 
avid it seemed as though she would fairly suck them back with 
her eyes. Her breast was wrung with a sigh as she turned and went 
into her patient’s room. 

Hans Castorp made but one other acquaintance in these days: 
the pale, black-clad Mexican lady he had seen in the garden, whose 
nickname was Tous-les-deux. It came to pass that he heard from 
her own lips the tragic formula; and being forearmed, preserved a 
suitable demeanour and was satisfied with himself afterwards. The 



HE PRACTISES HIS FRENCH 


109 

cousins met her before the front door, as they were setting forth 
on their prescribed walk after early breakfast. She was restlessly 
ranging there, with her pacing step, her legs bent at the knee- 
joints, wrapped in a black cashmere shawl, a black veil wound 
about her disordered silver hair and tied under her chm, her ageing 
face, with the large writhen mouth, gleaming dead-white against 
her mourning. Joachim, bare-headed as usual, greeted her with a 
bow, which she slowly acknowledged, the furrows deepening in 
her narrow forehead as she looked at him. Then, seeing a new face, 
she paused and waited, nodding gentlv as they came up to her; 
obviously she found it of importance to learn if the stranger was 
acquainted with her sad case, and to hear what he would say about 
it. Joachim presented his cousin. She drew her hand out of her 
shawl and gave it to him, a veined, emaciated, yellowish hand, with 
many rings, as she continued to gaze in his face. 

Then it came: “ Tous les de , monsieur ” she said. “ Tous les 
de , vous savez” 

“ Je le sals , madame ” Hans Castorp answered gently, “ et je le 
regrette beaucoup.” 

The lax pouches of skin under her jet-black eyes were larger 
and heavier than he had ever seen. She exhaled a faint odour as of 
fading flowers. A mild and pensive feeling stole about his heart. 

“ Merci ” she said, with a loose, clacking pronunciation, oddly 
consonant with her broken appearance. Her large mouth drooped 
tragically at one corner. She drew her hand back beneath her 
mantle, inclined her head, and turned away. 

But Hans Castorp said as they walked on: “ You see, I didn’t 
mind it at all, I got on with her quite well; I always do with such 
people; I understand instinctively how to go at them — don’t you 
think so? I even think, on the whole, I get on better with sad peo- 
ple than with jolly ones-— goodness knows why. Perhaps its be- 
cause I’m an orphan, and lost my parents early; but when people 
are very serious, or down in the mouth, or somebody dies, it 
doesn’t deject or embarrass me; I feel quite in my element, a good 
deal more so than when everything is going on greased wheels. I 
was thinking just lately that it is pretty flat of the women up here 
to take on as they do about death and things connected with death, 
so that they take such pains to shield them from contact with 
it, and bring the Eucharist at meal-times, and that. I call it very 
feeble of them. Don’t you like the sight of a coffin? I really do. I 
find it a handsome piece of furniture, even empty; when someone 
is lying in it, then, in my eyes, it is positively sublime. Funerals 
have something very edifying; I always think one ought to go to 



I IO 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


a funeral instead of to church when one feels the need of being 
uplifted. People have on good black clothes, and they take off 
their hats and look at the coffin, and behave serious and reverent, 
and nobody dares to make a bad joke, the way they do in ordinary 
life. It’s good for people to be serious, once in a way. I’ve some- 
times asked myself if I ought not to have become a clergyman — 
in a certain way it wouldn’t have suited me so badly. — I hope I 
didn’t make any mistake in my French? ” 

“ No,” Joachim answered, “ ‘ Je le regrette bemcoup ’ was per- 
fectly right as far as it went.” 

Politically Suspect 

Regular variations in the daily routine began to discover them- 
selves. The first was Sunday, Sunday with a band on the terrace, 
which, it appeared, played there once a fortnight. Hans Castorp 
had arrived in the latter half of one of these periods. He had come 
on a Tuesday, and thus the Sunday was his fifth day up here — a 
day whose springlike character contrasted with the late extraor- 
dinary change and relapse into winter. It was mild and fresh, with 
pure white clouds in a pale blue sky, and gentle sunshine over vale 
and slopes, which displayed once more the green proper to the 
season, for the recent snow had been fated to speedy melting. 

All hands, it was plain, took pains to observe Sunday and dis- 
tinguish it from the rest of the week, management and guest sec- 
onding each other in their efforts to this end. At early breakfast 
there was seed-cake, and each guest had before his place a small 
glass with a few flowers, mountain pinks and even Alpine roses, 
which the gentlemen stuck in their buttonholes. Lawyer Para- 
vant from Dortmund had put on a black frock-coat with a spotted 
waistcoat, and the ladies’ toilets were suitably festal and diapha- 
nous. Frau Chauchat appeared in a flowing lace matinee, with open 
sleeves. As she entered and the glass door crashed into its lock be- 
hind her, she paused a second facing the room and gracefully as it 
were presented herself before she glided to her table. The garment 
so became her that Hans Castorp’s neighbour, the Danzig school- 
mistress, was quite ravished. Even the barbaric pair at the “ bad ” 
Russian table had taken notice of the day: he by exchanging his 
leather jacket for a short coat, and the felt boots for leather shoes; 
she, though she still wore the soiled feather boa, by putting on a 
green silk blouse with a neck-ruche. Hans Castorp wrinkled his 
brows when he saw them, and coloured — he seemed, since he had 
been up here, to blush so easily. 


POLITICALLY SUSPECT 


I I I 


Directly after second breakfast the concert began on the ter- 
race; there were all kinds of horns and wood wind, and they 
played by turns sprightly and sostemcto , until nearly luncheon - 
time. The morning rest, during the concert, was not obligatory, 
A few guests did regale themselves with this feast for the ears, at 
the same time lying on their balconies, in the garden rest-hall 
a few chairs were occupied. But the majority sat at the small, 
white tables on the covered platform, while the more frivolous 
spirits, finding it too prim to sit upon chairs, encamped on the 
stone steps that led down into the garden, \\ here they presently 
gave evidence of their high spirits. These were youthful patients 
of both sexes, most of whose names or faces Hans Castorp knew 
by now. There were Hermine Kleefeld, and Herr Albin — who 
carried about a great flowered box of chocolates, and offered them 
to all the guests, he himself eating none, but with a benevolent, 
paternal air smoking gold-tipped cigarettes; there were the thick- 
lipped youth who belonged to the Half-Lung Club, the thin and 
ivory-coloured Fraulein Levi, an ash-blond young man who an- 
swered to the name of Rasmussen and carried his hands breast-high, 
with the wrists relaxed, like a pair of flippers; Frau Salomon from 
Amsterdam, a woman of full bodily habit, in a red frock, who had 
attached herself to the group of young folk; the tall, thin-haircd 
young man who could play out of the Midsummer Night's Dream 
sat on the step behind her, his arms about his bony knees, and 
gazed steadfastly down on the tanned back of her neck. There 
was a red-haired Greek girl, another of unknown origin with a 
face like a tapir’s; the voracious lad with the thick eye-glasses, and 
another fifteen- or sixteen-year-old youth, with a monocle stuck 
in his eye, who carried his little finger, with its abnormally long 
nail shaped like a salt-spoon, to his mouth when he coughed, 
and was manifestly a first-class donkey — these, and numerous 
others. 

The person with the finger-nail, Joachim related in a low voice, 
had been only a light case when he came. He had had no fever and 
had been sent up merely as a precautionary measure, by his father, 
who was a physician. The Hof rat had advised a stay of three 
months. The three months had passed, and now he had ioo to 
100.5 degrees of fever and was seriously ill. But he lived so wide 
of all common sense that he needed his ears boxed. 

The cousins sat at a table by themselves, rather apart from the 
others, for Hans Castorp was smoking with his dark beer, which 
he had brought out from breakfast. From time to time his cigar 
gave him a little pleasure. Rendered torpid, as often, by the beer 


1 1 2 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


and the music, he sat with his head on one side and his mouth 
slightly open, watching the gay, resortish scene, feeling, not as a 
disturbing influence, but rather as heightening the general singu- 
larity, and lending it one mental fillip the more, the fact that ail 
these people were inwardly attacked by well-nigh resistless decay, 
and that most of them were feverish. They sat at the little tables 
drinking effervescent lemonade; the group on the steps were photo- 
graphing each other. Postage stamps were exchanged. The red- 
haired Greek girl sketched Herr Rasmussen’s portrait on a draw- 
ing-pad, but would not let him see it. She turned this way and 
that, laughing with wide-open mouth, showing her broad far- 
apart teeth — it was long before he could snatch it from her. Her- 
mine Kleefeld perched on her step, eyes half open, beating time 
to the music with a rolled-up newspaper; she permitted Herr 
Albin to fasten a bunch of wild flowers on the front of her blouse. 
The youth with the voluptuous lips, sitting at Frau Salomon’s feet, 
turned his head upwards to talk with her, while behind them the 
thin-haired pianist directed his unchanging gaze down the back of 
her neck. 

The physicians came and mingled with the guests of the cure, 
Hofrat Behrens in his white smock, Krokowski in his black. They 
passed along the row of tables, the Hofrat letting fall a pleasantry 
at nearly every one, till a wave of merriment followed in his wake; 
and so down the steps among the young folk, the female element 
of which straightway trooped up sidling and becking about Dr. 
Krokowski, while the Hofrat honoured the sabbath by perform- 
ing a “ stunt ” with his bootlaces before the gentlemen’s eyes. He 
rested one mighty foot upon a step, unfastened the laces, gripped 
them with practised technique in one hand, and without employ- 
ing the other, hooked them up again crosswise, with such speed 
and agility that the beholders marvelled, and many of them tried 
to emulate him, but in vain. 

Somewhat later Settembrini appeared on the terrace. He came 
out of the dining-room leaning on his cane, dressed as usual in his 
pilot coat and yellow check trousers, looked about him w ith his 
critical, alert, and elegant air, and approached the cousins’ table. 
“ Bravo! ” he said, and asked permission to sit with them. 

“ Beer, tobacco, and music,” he went on. “ Behold the Father- 
land! I rejoice to see you in your element, Engineer — you have 
a feeling for national atmosphere, it seems. May I bask in the sun- 
shine of your well-being? ” 

Hans Castorp looked lowering — his features took on that ex- 
pression directly he set eyes on the Italian. He said: “ You are late 


POLITICALLY SUSPECT 


1 *3 

for the concert, Herr Settembrini; it must be nearly over. You 
don’t care for music? ” 

“ Not to order,” responded Settembrini. “ Not by the calendar 
week. Not when it reeks of the prescription counter and is doled 
out to me by the authorities for the good of my health. I cling to 
my freedom — or rather to such vestiges of freedom and personal 
dignity as remain to the likes of us. At these affairs I play the guest, 
as you do up here: I come for a quarter-hour and go away — it 
gives me the illusion of independence. That it is more than an illu- 
sion I do not claim — enough if it please me It is different with 
your cousin. For him it all belongs to the service — that is the 
light, is it not, Lieutenant, in which you regard it? Ah, yes, I 
know, you have the trick of hugging your pride, even in a state of 
slavery. A puzzling trick; not everybody in Europe understands it. 
Music? You were asking if I profess to be an amateur of music? 
Well, when you say amateur ” (Hans Castorp could not recall say- 
ing anything of the sort), “ the word is perhaps not ill chosen; it 
has a slight suggestion of superficiality — yes, very well, I am an 
amateur of music — which is not to say that I set great store by it; 
not as I love and reverence the Word, the bearer of the spirit, the 
tool and gleaming ploughshare of progress. — Music? It is the half- 
articulate art, the dubious, the irresponsible, the insensible. Perhaps 
you will object that she can be clear when she likes. But so can 
nature, so can a brook — what good is that to us 5 That is not true 
clarity, it is a dreamy, inexpressive, irresponsible clarity, without 
consequences and therefore dangerous, because it betrays one into 
soft complacence. — Let music play her loftiest role, she will 
thereby but kindle the emotions, whereas what concerns us is to 
awaken the reason. Music is to all appearance movement itself — 
yet, for all that, I suspect her of quietism. Let me state my point 
by the method of exaggeration: my aversion from music rests on 
political grounds.” 

Hans Castorp could not refrain from slapping his knee as he 
exclaimed that never in all his life before had he heard the like. 

“ Pray do not, on that account, refuse to entertain it,” Settem- 
brini said with a smile. “ Music, as a final incitement to the spirit 
of men, is invaluable — as a force which draws onward and up- 
ward the spirit she finds prepared for her ministrations. But litera- 
ture must precede her. By music alone the world would get no 
further forward. Alone, she is a danger. For you, personally, En- 
gineer, she is beyond all doubt dangerous. I saw it in your face as 
I came up.” 

Hans Castorp laughed. 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


1 14 

“ Oh, you shouldn’t look at my face, Herr Settembrini. You 
can’t believe how the air up here sets me on fire. It is harder than 
I thought to get acclimatized.” 

“ I fear you deceive yourself.” 

“ How so? I know, at least, how deucedly hot and tired I am all 
the time.” 

“ It seems to me we should be grateful to the management for 
the concert,” Joachim said reflectively. “ I wouldn’t contradict 
you, Herr Settembrini, because you look at the question from a 
higher point of view, so to speak, as an author. But I find one ought 
to be grateful, up here for a bit of music. I am far from being 
particularly musical, and then the pieces they play are not exactly 
elevating, neither classic nor modern, but just ordinary band- 
music. Still, it is a pleasant change. It takes up a couple of hours 
very decently; I mean it breaks them up and fills them in, so there 
is something to them, by comparison with the other days, hours, 
and weeks that whisk by like nothing at all. You see an unpreten- 
tious concert-number lasts perhaps seven minutes, and those seven 
minutes amount to something; they have a beginning and an end, 
they stand out, they don’t so easily slip into the regular humdrum 
round and get lost. Besides they are again divided up by the figures 
of the piece that is being played, and these again into beats, so 
there is always something going on, and every moment has a cer- 
tain meaning, something you can take hold of, whereas usually — 
I don’t know whether I am making myself — ” 

“Bravo! ” cried Settembrini. “ Bravo, Lieutenant! You are de- 
scribing very well indeed an aspect of music which has indubitably 
a moral value: namely, that her peculiarly life-enhancing method 
of measuring time imparts a spiritual awareness and value to its 
passage. Music quickens time, she quickens us to the finest enjoy- 
ment of time; she quickens — and in so far she has moral value. Art 
has moral value, in so far as it quickens. But what if it does the op- 
posite? What if it dulls us, sends us to sleep, works against action 
and progress? Music can do that too; she is an old hand at using 
opiates. But the opiate, my dear sirs, is a gift of the Devil; it makes 
for lethargy, inertia, slavish inaction, stagnation. There is some- 
thing suspicious about music, gentlemen. I insist that she is, by 
her nature, equivocal. I shall not be going too far in saying at once 
that she is politically suspect.” 

He went on in this vein, and Hans Castorp listened without pre- 
cisely following; first on account of his fatigue, and second be- 
cause his attention was distracted by the proceedings of the light- 
headed young folk on the steps. Did his eyes deceive him, or was 



HIPPE i r ^ 

the tapir-faced girl really occupied in sewing on a button for the 
monocled youth — and, forsooth, on the knee-band of his knicker- 
bockers? She breathed asthmatically as she sewed, and he coughed 
and carried his little finger, with the salt-spoon-shaped nail, to his 
mouth. Of course they were ill — but, after all, these young folk 
up here did have peculiar social standards! The band played a 
polka. 


Hippe 

Thus Sunday passed. The afternoon was marked by drives under- 
taken by various groups; several times after tea a carriage and pair 
drove up the winding road and halted before the portal to receive 
its occupants — these being, for the most part, Russian ladies. 

“ Russians drive a great deal,” Joachim said to Hans Castorp, as 
they stood before the entrance and amused themselves with watch- 
ing the carriages move off. “ They will be going to Clavadel, or 
into the valley of the Fluela, or as far as Klosters. Those are the 
usual objectives. We might have a drive too while you are up here, 
if you like. But for the present I think you have enough to do to 
get used to things, and don’t require more diversion.” 

To which Hans Castorp agreed. He had a cigarette in his mouth, 
and his hands in his trouser pockets; and stood so to watch the 
lively little old Russian lady, as she, with her lean grand-niece and 
two other ladies, took their seats in a carriage. The ladies t\ere 
Madame Chauchat and Marusja. Madame Chauchat had put on a 
thin dust-cloak belted in at the back, but wore no hat. She sat 
down beside the old dame in the body of the carriage, while the 
two girls took their places behind. All four were in lively vein 
and chattered without stopping in their soft, spineless tongue. 
They chattered about the top of the carriage, which was hard for 
them all to get underneath, about the Russian comfits the great- 
aunt had brought for them to munch, in a little wooden box 
lined with cotton-wool and lace paper, and was already handing 
round. — Hans Castorp distinguished with interest Frau Chauchat’s 
slightly husky voice. As always whenever he set eyes on that heed- 
less creature, the likeness reasserted itself winch had puzzled him 
for a while and then been revealed in a dream. But Marusja’s laugh, 
the expression of her round, browm eyes, staring childlike above 
the tiny handkerchief she held over her mouth, the full bosom, 
which was yet so ailing within, reminded him of something else, 
something which gave him a sudden thrill and made him glance 
cautiously at his cousin without turning his head. No, thank good- 


ii 6 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


ness, Joachim had not gone mottled, like that other time; his lips 
were not so painfully compressed. But he was gazing at Marusja, 
and his bearing, the expression in his eyes, was anything but mili- 
tary. Indeed that absorbed and yearning look could only have 
been characterized as typically civilian. However, he pulled him- 
self quickly together and stole a glance at Hans Castorp, which the 
latter had only just time to avoid, by turning his own eyes away 
and staring up into the sky. He felt his heart give a sudden beat — 
without rhyme or reason, of its own accord, as it had taken to 
doing up here. 

The Sunday was not further remarkable, except perhaps for the 
meals, which, since they could not well be more abundant than 
they already were, displayed greater refinement in the menu. At 
luncheon there was a chaud-froid of chicken, garnished with cray- 
fish and stoned cherries; with the ices came pastry served in bas- 
kets of spun sugar, and fresh pineapple besides. In the evening, 
after he had drunk his beer, Hans Castorp felt heavier in the limbs 
and more chilled and exhausted than on the day before; toward 
nine o’clock he bade his cousin good-night, drew his plwneau up 
to his chin, and slept like the dead. 

But next day, the first Monday spent by the guest up here, there 
came another regularly recurring variation in the daily routine: 
the lectures, one of which Dr. Krokowski delivered every other 
Monday morning in the dining-room, before the entire adult 
population of the sanatorium, with exception of the “ moribund ” 
and those who could not understand the language. The course, 
Hans Castorp learned from his cousin, consisted of a series of 
popular-scientific lectures, under the general title: “Love as a 
force contributory to disease.” These instructive entertainments 
took place after second breakfast; it was not permissible, Joachim 
reiterated, to absent oneself from them — or, at least, absence was 
frowned upon. It was thus very daring of Settembrini, who surely 
must have more command of the language than anyone else, not 
only never to appear, but to refer to the entertainment in most 
disparaging terms. For Hans Castorp’s part, he straightway re- 
solved to be present, in the first place out of courtesy, but also 
with unconcealed curiosity as to what he should hear. Before the 
appointed hour, however, he did something quite perverse and ill- 
judged, which proved worse for him than one could possibly have 
guessed: he went out for a long, solitary walk. 

“ Now listen to me,” had been his first worls, when Joachim 
entered his room that morning. “ I can see that it can’t go on with 
me like this. I’ve had enough of the horizontal for the present; 



HIPPE 


ll 7 

one’s very blood goes to sleep. Of course it is different with you; 
you are a patient, and I have no intention of tempting you. But I 
mean to take a proper walk after breakfast, if you don’t mind, just 
walking at random for a couple of hours. I’ll stick a little some- 
thing in my pocket for second breakfast; then I shall be inde- 
pendent. We shall see if I am not quite a different chap when I 
come back.” 

Joachim warmly agreed, as he saw his cousin was in earnest in 
his desire and his project. “ But don’t overdo it,” he said; “ that's 
my advice. It’s not the same thing up here as at home. And be sure 
to come back in time for the lecture.” 

In reality young Hans Castorp had more ground than the phys- 
ical for his present resolve. His over-heated head, the prevailing 
bad taste in his mouth, the fitful throbbing of his heart, were, or 
so he felt, less evil accompaniments to the process of acclimatira- 
tion than such things as the goings-on of the Russian pair next 
door, the table-talk of the stupid and afflicted Frau Stohr, the 
gentleman rider’s pulpy cough daily heard in the corridor, the 
utterances of Herr Albin, the impression he received of the man- 
ners and morals of the ailing young folk about him, the expression 
on Joachim’s face when he looked at Marusja — these and a hun- 
dred observations more made him feel it would be good to escape 
awhile from the Berghof circle, to breathe the air deep into his 
lungs, to get some proper exercise — and then, when he felt tired 
at night, he would at least know why. He took leave of Joachim 
in a spirit of enterprise, when his cousin addressed himself, after 
breakfast, to the usual round as far as the bench by the water- 
course; then, swinging his walking-stick, he took his own way 
down the road. 

It was about nine o’clock of a cool morning, with a covered 
sky. According to programme, Hans Castorp diew in deep 
draughts of the pure morning air, the fresh, light atmosphere that 
breathed in so easily, that held no hint of damp, that was without 
associations, without content. He crossed the stream and the nar- 
row-gauge road to the street, with its scattered buildings; but left 
this again soon to strike into a meadow path, which went only a 
short way on the level and then slanted steeply up to the right. 
The climbing rejoiced Hans Castorp’s heart, his chest expanded, 
he pushed his hat back on his forehead with the crook of his stick; 
having gained some little height he looked back, and, seeing in the 
distance the mirror-like lake he had passed on his journey hither, 
he began to sing. 

He sang what songs he had at his command, all kinds of send- 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


1 1 8 

mental folk-ditties, out of collections of national ballads and stu- 
dents’ song-books; one of them, that went: 

Let poets all of love and wine, 

Yet oft of virtue sing the praises, 

he sang at first softly, in a humming tone, then louder, finally at 
the top of his voice. His baritone lacked flexibility, yet to-day he 
found it good, and sang on with mounting enthusiasm. When he 
found he had pitched the beginning too high, he shifted into fal- 
setto, and even that pleased him. When his memory left him in the 
lurch, he helped himself out by setting to the melody whatever 
words and syllables came to hand, heedless of the sense, giving 
them out like an operatic singer, with arching lips and strong pala- 
tal r. He even began to improvise both words and music, accom- 
panying his performance with theatrical gesturings. It is a good 
deal of a strain to sing and climb at the same time, and Hans Ca- 
storp found his breath growing scant, and scanter. Yet for sheer 
pleasure in the idea, for the joy of singing, he forced his voice and 
sang on, with frequent gasps for breath, until he could no more, 
and sank, quite out of wind, half blind, with coloured sparks be- 
fore his eyes and racing pulses, beneath a sturdy pine. His exalta- 
tion gave way on the sudden to a pervading gloom; he fell a prey 
to dejection bordering on despair. 

When, his nerves being tolerably restored, he got to his feet 
again to continue his walk, he found his neck trembling; indeed 
his head shook in precisely the same way now, at his age, in which 
the head of old Hans Lorenz Castorp once had shaken. The phe- 
nomenon so freshly called up to him the memory of his dead 
grandfather that, far from finding it offensive, he took a certain 
pleasure in availing himself of that remembered and dignified 
method of supporting the chin, by means of which his grandfather 
had been wont to control the shaking of his head, and to which the 
boy had responded with such inward sympathy. 

He mounted still higher on the zigzag path, drawn by the sound 
of cow-bells, and came at length upon the herd, grazing near a hut 
whose roof was weighted with stones. Two bearded men ap- 
proached him, with axes on their shoulders. They parted, a little 
way off him, and “ Thank ye kindly, and God be with ye,” said 
the one to the other, in a deep guttural voice, shifted his axe to the 
other shoulder, and began breaking a path through crackling pine- 
boughs to the valley. The words sounded strange in this lonely 
spot: they came dreamlike to Hans Castorp’s senses, strained and 


HIPPE 


II 9 

benumbed. He repeated them, softly, trying to reproduce the gut- 
tural, rustically formal syllables of the mountain tongue, as he 
climbed another stretch higher, above the hut. He had in mind to 
reach the height where the trees left off, but on glancing at his 
watch resisted. 

He took the left-hand path in the direction of the village. It ran 
level for some way, then led downhill, among tall-trunked pines, 
where, as he went, he once more began to sing, tentatively, and 
despite the fact that he felt his knees to tremble more than they 
haa during the ascent. On issuing from the wood he paused, struck 
by the charm of the small enclosed landscape before him, a scene 
composed of elements both peaceful and sublime. 

A mountain stream came flowing in its shallow, stony bed down 
the right-hand slope, poured itself foaming over the terraced 
boulders lying in its path, then coursed more calmly toward the 
valley, crossed at this point by a picturesque railed wooden foot- 
bridge. The ground all about was blue with the bell-like blossoms 
of a profusely growing, bushy plant. Sombre fir-trees of even, 
mighty growth stood in the bed of the ravine and climbed its sides 
to the height. One of them, rooted in the steep bank at the side of 
the torrent, thrust itself aslant into the picture, with bizarre effect. 
The whole remote and lovely spot was wrapped in a sounding 
solitude by the noise of the rushing waters. Hans Castorp re- 
marked a bench that stood on the farther bank of the stream. 

He crossed the foot-bridge and sat down to regale himself with 
the sight of the foaming, rushing waterfall and the idyllic sound 
of its monotonous yet modulated prattle. For Hans Castorp loved 
like music the sound of rushing water — perhaps he loved it even 
more. But hardly had he settled himself when he was overtaken 
by a bleeding at the nose, which came on so suddenly he had 
barely time to save his clothing from soilure. The bleeding was 
violent and persistent, taking to stanch it nearly half an hour of 
going to and fro between bench and brook, snuffing water up his 
nostrils, rinsing his handkerchief and lying flat on his back upon 
the wooden seat with the damp cloth on his nose. He lay there, 
after the blood at length was stanched, his knees elevated, hands 
folded behind his head, eyes closed, and ears full of the noise of 
water. He felt no unpleasant sensation, the blood-letting had had 
a soothing effect, but he found himself in a state of extraordinarily 
reduced vitality, so that when he exhaled the air, he felt no need 
to draw it in again, and lay there moveless, for the space of 
several quiet heart-beats, before taking another slow and super- 
ficial breath. 


E 



120 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


Quite suddenly he found himself in the far distant past, trans- 
ported to a scene which had come back to him in a dream some 
nights before, summoned by certain impressions of the last few 
days. But so strongly, so resistlessly, to the annihilation of time 
and space, was he rapt back into the past, one might have said it 
was a lifeless body lying here on the bench by the waterside, while 
the actual Hans Castorp moved in that far-away time and place — 
in a situation which was for him, despite its childishness, vibrant 
with daring and adventure. 

It happened when he was a lad of thirteen, in knee-breeches, 
in the lower third form at school. He stood in the school yard in 
talk with another boy of like years, from a higher form. The con- 
versation had been begun, rather arbitrarily, by himself and, deal- 
ing as it did with a narrowly circumscribed subject of a practical 
nature, could in no case be prolonged; yet it gave him the greatest 
satisfaction. It took place m the break between the last two periods, 
a history and a drawing hour for Hans Castorp’s form; the pupils 
were walking up and down, or standing about in groups, or loung- 
ing against the glazed abutments of the school-building wall. A 
murmur of voices filled the red-tiled court-yard, which was shut 
off from the street by a wall topped with shingles and provided 
with two entrance gates. Supervision was exercised by a master in 
a slouch hat, who munched a ham sandwich the while. 

He with whom Hans Castorp spoke was called Hippe, Pribislav 
Hippe. A peculiarity of this given name was that you were to 
pronounce it as though it were spelled Pschibislav; and the singu- 
larity of the appellation suited the lad’s appearance, which did 
indeed have something exotic about it. Hippe was the son of a 
scholar and history 7 professor in the gymnasium. He was, by conse- 
quence, a notorious model pupil, and, though not much older than 
Hans Castorp, already a form higher up. He came from Mecklen- 
burg and was in his person obviously the product of an ancient 
mixture of races, a grafting of Germanic stock with Slavic, or the 
reverse. True, his close-shorn round pate was blond; but the eyes 
were a grey-blue, or a blue-grey — an indefinite, ambiguous col- 
our, like the hue of far-distant mountain ranges — and of an odd, 
narrow shape; were even, to be precise, a little slanting, with 
strongly marked, prominent cheek-bones directly under them. It 
was a type of face which in this instance, far from seeming an 
abnormality, was distinctly pleasing, though odd enough to have 
won for him the nickname of “ the Kirghiz ” among his school- 
mates. Hippe already wore long trousers, and a blue jacket belted 



HIPPE 


I 2 I 


n at the back and closed to the throat, the collar of which was 
usually whitened by a few scales of dandruff. 

Now, the thing was that Hans Castorp, for a long time, had had 
his eye upon this Pribislav; had chosen him out of the whole host, 
known and unknown, in the court-yard of the school, taken an 
interest in him, followed him with his eyes — shall we say admired 
hinT — at all events observed him with peculiar sympathy. Even 
on the way to school he looked forward with pleasure to watch- 
ing him among his fellows, seeing him speak and laugh, singling 
out his voice from the others by its pleasantly veiled, husky qual- 
ity. Granted that there was no sufficient ground for his preference, 
unless one might refer it to Hippe’s heathenish name, his character 
as model pupil — this latter was, of course, out of the question — 
or to the “ Kirghiz ” eyes, whose grey-blue glance could some- 
times melt into a mystery of darkness when one caught it musing 
sidewise; whichever it might be, or none of these, Hans Castorp 
troubled not a whit to justify his feelings, or even to question by 
what name they might suitably be called. For, since he did not 
u know ” Hippe, the relation could hardly be one of friendship. 
But in the first place there was not the faintest need of calling it 
anything; it could never be a subject of discussion; that would 
be out of place, and he had no desire for it; and, in the second, 
giving a thing a name implies, if not passing judgment on it, at least 
defining it; that is to say, classifying it among the familiar and 
habitual; whereas Hans Castorp was penetrated by the uncon- 
scious conviction that an inward good of this sort was above all 
to be guarded from definition and classification. 

But whether well or ill founded, and however far from being 
the subject of conversation, or even from being touched on in 
Hans Castorp’s own mind, these feelings of his flourished there in 
great strength, as they had done for almost a year now — or a 
year as nearly as one could fix the time, for it was hard to be pre- 
cise about their beginnings. For about a year, then, he had carried 
them about in secret, which spoke for the loyalty and constancy 
of his character, when one reflects what a great space of time a 
year is at that age. But alas, every characterization of this kind 
involves a moral judgment, whether favourable or unfavourable 
— though, to be sure, each trait of character has its two sides. Thus 
Hans Castorp’s “ loyalty ” — upon which, be it said, he was not 
prone to plume himself — consisted, baldly, in a certain tempera- 
mental heaviness, sluggishness, and quiescence, a fundamental 
tendency to feel respect for conditions of duration and stability; 


122 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


and the more respect, the longer they lasted. He inclined to be- 
lieve in the permanence of the particular state or circumstances in 
which he for the moment found himself; prized it for that very 
quality, and was not bent on change. Thus he had grown used to 
his silent and remote relation to Pribislav Hippe, and considered it 
a regular feature of his life; loved the emotions it brought in its 
train, the suspense as to whether he was likely to meet him that 
day, whether Pribislav would pass close by him, even look at him; 
loved the subtle and wordless satisfaction imparted by his secret, 
loved even the disappointments inseparable from it — the greatest 
of which was Pribislav’s absence from school. When this hap- 
pened, the school yard became a desert, the day lacked all charm, 
hope alone lingered. 

The affair had lasted a year, up to that intrepid and culminating 
moment; after which, thanks to Hans Castorp’s constancy of 
spirit, it lasted another. Then it was over. And it is a fact that he 
marked no more the loosening and dissolving of the bond which 
united him to Pribislav than he had previously marked its begin- 
nings. Moreover, in consequence or his father’s taking another 
position, Pribislav left the school and the city; but that was all one 
to Hans Castorp; he had already forgotten him before he went. 
One may put it that the figure of the “ Kirghiz ” had glided out 
of the mist into Hans Castorp’s life, and slowly grown vivid and 
tangible there, up to that moment of the greatest nearness and 
corporeity, in the school court; had stood awhile thus in the fore- 
ground, then slowly receded, and, with no pain of parting, dis- 
solved again into the mist. 

But that moment, that bold, adventurous situation, into which 
Hans Castorp found himself transported after all these years, the 
conversation — an actual conversation with Pribislav Hippe — 
came about thus. The drawing-lesson was the next period, and 
Hans Castorp found himself without a pencil. His classmates 
needed their own, but he had among the other pupils this and that 
acquaintance, of whom he might have sought a loan. Yet he found 
it was Pribislav who after all stood nearest to him, with whom, 
in secret, he had had to do; and with a joyous impulse of his entire 
being he determined to seize the opportunity — for so he called it 
— and ask Pribislav for a pencil. It was rather an odd thing to do, 
since he did not, in reality, “ know ” Pribislav at all; but this aspect 
of the affair escaped him in his recklessness, or he chose to disre- 
gard it. So there he stood before Pribislav Hippe, among the 
bustling crowd that filled the tiled court-yard; and he said to him: 
44 Excuse me, can you lend me a pencil? ” 



HIPPE 


I2 3 

And Pribislav looked at him, with his “ Kirghiz ” eyes above 
ie prominent cheek-bones, and spoke, in his pleasantly husky 
oice, without any surprise, or, at least, without showing any. 

“ With pleasure,” he said. “ Rut you must be sure to give it me 
»ack, after the period.” And drew his pencil out of his pocket, 
l silver pencil-holder with a ring in the end, which one screwed 
n order to make the red lead-pencil come out. He displayed the 
imple mechanism, their wo heads bent over it together. 

“ Only be careful not to break it,” he added. 

What made him say that? As if Hans Castor p had been intend- 
ng to handle it carelessly or keep it after the hour! 

They looked at each other, and smiled; then, as there re- 
mained nothing more to say, they turned, first their shoulders and 
then their backs, and went. 

That was all. But never in his life had Hans Castorp felt so su- 
premely content as in this drawing hour, drawing with Pribislav 
Hippe’s pencil, in the immediate prospect of giving it back into 
the owner’s hand— which followed as a matter of course out of 
what had gone before. He took the liberty of sharpening the 
pencil a little, and cherished three of the red shavings nearly a 
year, in an inner drawer of his desk — no one seeing them there 
could have guessed what significance they possessed. The return 
of the pencil was of the simplest formality, quite after Hans Ca- 
storp’s heart — indeed, he prided himself on it no little, in the 
vainglorious state his intimacy with Hippe produced. 

“ There,” he said. “ And thanks very much.” 

And Pribislav said nothing at all, only hastily tried the screw 
and stuck the pencil in his pocket. 

Never again did they speak to each other; but this one time, 
thanks to the enterprise of Hans Castorp, they had spoken. 

He wrenched his eyes open, amazed at the depths of the trance 
in which he had been sunk. “ I’ve been dreaming,” he thought. 
“ Yes, that was Pribislav. It’s a long time since I thought of him. 
I wonder what became of the shavings. My desk is in the attic 
at Uncle Tienappel’s; they must be there yet, in the little inner 
back drawer. I never took them out, never thought enough about 
them to throw them away! That was certainly Pribislav, his very 
own self. I shouldn’t have thought I could remember him so 
clearly. How remarkably like her he looked — like this girl up 
here! Is that why I feel interested in her? Or was that why I 
felt so interested in him? What rubbish! Anyhow, I must be 
stirring, and pretty fast, too.” But he lay another moment, mus^ 
ing and recalling, before he got up. “ Then thank ye kindly, and 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


I2 4 

God be with ye,” he said — the tears came to his eyes as he smiled 
And with that he would have been off, but instead sat suddenly 
down again with his hat and stick in his hand, bemg forced to the 
realization that his knees would not support him. “ Hullo,” he 
thought, “ this won’t do. I am supposed to be back in the dining- 
room punctually at eleven, for the lecture. Taking w T alks up here 
is very beautiful — but appears to have its difficult side. Well, 
well, I can’t stop here. I must have got stiff from lying; I shall be 
better as I move about.” He tried again to get on his legs and, 
by dint of great effort, succeeded. 

But the return home was lamentable indeed, after the high 
spirits of his setting forth. He had repeatedly to rest by the way, 
feeling the colour recede from his face, and cold sweat break 
out on his brow; the wild beating of his heart took away his 
breath. Thus painfully he fought his way down the winding path 
and reached the bottom in the neighbourhood of the Kurhaus. 
But here it became clear that his own powers would never take 
him over the stretch between him and the Berghof; and accord- 
ingly, as there was no tram and he saw no carriages for hire, he 
hailed a driver going toward the Dorf with a load of empty 
boxes and asked permission to climb into his wagon. Back to back 
with the man, his legs hanging down out of the end, swaying 
and nodding with fatigue and the jolting of the vehicle, regarded 
with surprise and sympathy by the passers-by, he got as far as 
the railway crossing, where he dismounted and paid for his ride, 
whether much money or little he did not heed, and hurried 
headlong up the drive. 

“ Depechez-vons , monsieur said to him the French concierge. 
u ha conference de M. Kroko'ivski went de commencerT Hans 
Castorp tossed hat and stick on the stand and squeezed himself 
with much precaution, tongue between his teeth, through the 
partly open glass door into the dining-room, where the society of 
the cure sat in rows on their chairs, and on the right-hand narrow 
side of the room, behind a covered table adorned with a water- 
bottle, Dr. Krokowski, in a frock-coat, stood and delivered his 
lecture. 

Analysis 

Luckily there was a vacant seat in the comer, near the door. 
He slipped into it and assumed an air of having been here from 
the beginning. The audience, hanging rapt on Dr. Krokowski’s 
lips, paid him no heed — which was as well, for he looked rather 
ghastly. His face white as a sheet, his coat spotted with blood — 


ANALYSIS 


!25 

he might have been a murderer stealing from his crime. The lady 
in front of him did, indeed, turn her head as he sat down, and 
measured him with narrow eyes. With a sense of exasperation 
he recognized Madame Chauchat. Deuce take it — was he never 
to have a moment’s peace' He had thought that, having arrived at 
his goal, he could sit here quietly and rest a little; and now he 
had to have her under his nose. In other circumstances he might 
conceivably have found her nearness rather pleasant than other- 
wise. But now, worn out and harassed as he felt, what was it to 
himr It could only make new demands on his heart and keep him 
from drawing a long breath during the whole lecture. With 
Pnbislav’s very eves she had looked at him, and at the spots of 
blood on his coat; her look had been rather bold and ruthless 
too, as a woman’s would be who let doors bang behind her. How 
badly she held herself! Not like the ladies of Hans Cast or p’s 
social sphere, who sat erect at their tables, turned their heads 
towards their lords and masters, and spoke with mincing correct- 
ness. Frau Chauchat sat all relaxed, with drooping shoulders and 
round back; she even thrust her head forward until the vertebra 
at the base of the neck showed prominently above the rounded 
de collet age of her white blouse. Pribislav had held his head like 
that. But he had been a model pupil and full of honours (which 
was not the reason why Hans Castorp had borrowed his pencil), 
whereas it was abundantly clear that Frau Chauchat’s bad car- 
riage, her door-slamming, and the directness of her gaze all had 
to do with her physical condition; yes, were even expressive of 
that want of restraint in which young Herr Albin rejoiced, 
which was not honourable at all, yet possessed boundless advan- 
tages all its own. 

Hans Castorp’s thoughts, as he sat and looked at Frau Chau- 
chat’s flaccid back, began to blur, they ceased to be thoughts at 
all and began to be a reverie, into which Dr. Krokowski s drawl- 
ing baritone, with the soft-sounding r, came as from afar. But 
the stillness of the room, the profound attention that rapt all the 
rest of the audience, had the effect of rousing him too. He looked 
about. Near him sat the thin-haired pianist, with bent head and 
folded arms, listening with his mouth open. Somewhat farther 
on was Fraulein Engelhart, avid-eyed, with a dull red spot on each 
cheek; Hans Castorp saw the same signal flame on the faces of 
other ladies - on Frau Salomon’s, and Frau Magnus’s, the same 
who was wife to the brewer and lost flesh persistently. Frau Stohr 
sat somewhat farther back, an expression of ignorant credulity 
painted on her face, truly painful to behold; while the ivory-corn- 


126 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


plexioned Levi, leaning back in her chair with half-closed eyes, 
her hands lying open in her lap, would have looked like a corpse 
had not her breast risen and fallen with such profound and 
rhythmical breaths as to remind Hans Castorp of a mechanical 
waxwork he had once seen. Many of the guests had their hands 
curved behind their ears; some even held the hand in the air 
half-way thither, as though arrested midway in the gesture by the 
strength of their concentration. Lawyer Paravant, a sunburnt man 
who looked to have had the strength of a bull, even flicked his 
ear with his forefinger to make it hear better, then turned it again 
to catch the words that flowed from Dr. Krokowski’s lips. 

And what was Dr. Krokowski saying? What was his line of 
thought? Hans Castorp summoned his wits to discover, not im- 
mediately succeeding, however, since he had not heard the be- 
ginning and lost still more while musing on Frau Chauchat’s 
flabby back. It was about a power, the power which — in short, it 
was about the power of love. Yes, of course; the subject was 
already given out in the general title of the whole course, and, 
moreover, this was Dr. Krokowski’s special field; of what else 
should he be talking? It was a bit odd, to be sure, listening to a 
lecture on such a theme, when previously Hans Castorp’s courses 
had dealt only with such matters as geared transmission in ship- 
building. No, really, how did one go about to discuss a subject of 
this delicate and private nature, in broad daylight, before a mixed 
audience? Dr. Krokowski did it by adopting a mingled termi- 
nology, partly poetic and partly erudite; ruthlessly scientific, yet 
with a vibrating, singsong delivery, which impressed young Hans 
Castorp as being unsuitable, but may have been the reason why 
the ladies looked flushed and the gentlemen flicked their ears to 
make them hear better. In particular the speaker employed the 
word love in a somewhat ambiguous sense, so that you were never 
quite sure where you were with it, or whether he had reference 
to its sacred or its passionate and fleshly aspect — and this doubt 
gave one a slightly seasick feeling. Never in all his life had Hans 
Castorp heard the word uttered so many times on end as he was 
hearing it now. When he reflected, it seemed to him he had never 
taken it in his own mouth, nor ever heard it from a stranger’s. 
That might not be the case, but whether it were or no, the word 
did not seem to him to repay such frequent repetition. The slip- 
pery monosyllable, with its lingual and labial, and the bleating 
vowel between — it came to sound positively offensive; it sug- 
gested watered milk, or anything else that was pale and insipid; 
the more so considering the meat for strong men Dr. Krokowski 


ANALYSIS 


111 

was in fact serving up. For it was plain that when one set about 
it like that, one could go pretty far without shocking anybody. 
He was not content to allude, with exquisite tact, to certain mat- 
ters which are known to everybody, but which most people are 
content to pass over in silence. He demolished illusions, he was 
ruthlessly enlightened, he relentlessly destroyed all faith in the 
dignity of silver hairs and the innocence of the sucking babe. 
And he wore, with the frock-coat, his neglige collar, sandals, and 
grey woollen socks, and, thus attired, made an impression pro- 
foundly otherworldly, though at the same time not a little start- 
ling to young Hans Castorp. He supported his statements with a 
wealth of illustration and anecdote from the books and loose 
notes on the table before him; several times he even quoted poetry. 
And he discussed certain startling manifestations of the power 
of love, certain extraordinary, painful, uncanny variations, which 
the majestic phenomenon at times displayed. It was, he said, the 
most unstable, the most unreliable of man’s instincts, the most 
prone of its very essence to error and fatal perversion. In the 
which there was nothing that should cause surprise. For this 
mighty force did not consist of a single impulse, it was of its 
nature complex; it was built up out of components which, how- 
ever legitimate they might be in composition, were, taken each 
by itself, sheer perversity. But — continued Dr. Krokowski — 
since we refuse, and rightly, to deduce the perversity of the whole 
from the perversity of its parts, we are driven to claim, for the 
component perversities, some part at least, though perhaps not 
all, of the justification which attaches to their united product. 
We were driven by sheer force of logic to this conclusion; Dr. 
Krokowski implored his hearers, having arrived at it, to hold it 
fast. Now there were psychical correctives, forces working in the 
other direction, instincts tending to conformability and regularity 
— he would almost have liked to characterize them as bourgeois; 
and these influences had the effect of merging the perverse com- 
ponents into a valid and irreproachable whole: a frequent and 
gratifying result, which, Dr. Krokowski almost contemptuously 
added, was, as such, of no further concern to the thinker and the 
physician. But on the other hand, there were cases where this re- 
sult was not obtained, could not and should not be obtained; and 
who, Dr. Krokowski asked, would dare to say that these cases 
did not, psychically considered, form a higher, more exclusive 
type? For in these cases the two opposing groups of instincts — 
the compulsive force of love, and the sum of the impulses urging 
in the other direction, among which he would particularly men- 


128 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


tion shame and disgust — both exhibited an extraordinary and ab- 
normal height and intensity when measured by the ordinary 
bourgeois standards, and the conflict between them which took 
place in the abysses of the soul prevented the erring instinct from 
attaining to that safe, sheltered, and civilized state which alone 
could resolve its difficulties in the prescribed harmonies of the 
love-life as experienced by the average human being. This con- 
flict between the powers of love and chastity — for that was what 
it really amounted to — what was its issue? It ended, apparently, 
in the triumph of chastity. Love was suppressed, held in dark- 
ness and chains, by fear, conventionality, aversion, or a tremu- 
lous yearning to be pure. Her confused and tumultuous claims 
were never allowed to rise to consciousness or to come to proof 
in anything like their entire strength or multiformity. But this 
triumph of chastity was only an apparent, a pyrrhic victory; for 
the claims of love could not be crippled or enforced by any such 
means. The love thus suppressed was not dead; it lived, it laboured 
after fulfilment in the darkest and secretest depths of the being. 
It would break through the ban of chastity, it would emerge — if 
in a form so altered as to be unrecognizable. But what then was 
this form, this mask, in which suppressed, unchartered love would 
reappear 5 Dr. Krokowski asked the question, and looked along the 
listening rows as though in all seriousness expecting an answer. 
But he had to say it himself, who had said so much else already. 
No one knew save him, but it was plain that he did. Indeed, with 
his ardent eyes, his black beard setting off the waxen pallor of 
his face, his monkish sandals and grey woollen socks, he seemed 
to symbolize in his own person that conflict between passion and 
chastity which was his theme. At least so thought Hans Castorp, 
as with the others he waited in the greatest suspense to hear in 
what form love driven below the surface would reappear. The 
ladies barely breathed. Lawyer Paravant rattled his ear anew, that 
the critical moment might find it open and receptive. And Dr. 
Krokowski answered his own question, and said: “ In the form 
of illness. Symptoms of disease are nothing but a disguised mani- 
festation of the power of love; and all disease is only love trans- 
formed.” 

So now they knew — though very probably not all of them 
were capable of an opinion on what they heard. A sigh passed 
through the assemblage, and Lawyer Paravant weightily nodded 
approbation as Krokowski proceeded to develop his theme. Hans 
Castorp for his part sat with bowed head, trying to reflect on 



ANALYSIS 


129 

what had been said and test his own understanding of it. But he 
was unpractised in such exercises, and rendered still further in- 
capable of mental exertion by the unhappy effect of the walk he 
had taken. His thoughts were soon drawn off again by the sight ol 
Frau Chauchat s back, and the arm appertaining, which was lift- 
ing and bending itself, close before Hans Castorp’s eyes, so that 
the hand could hold the braids of hair. 

It made him uncomfortable to have the hand so close beneath 
his eye, to be forced to look at it whether he wished or no, to 
study it in all its human blemishes and imperfections, as though 
under a magnifying-glass. No, there was nothing aristocratic about 
this stubby schoolgirl hand, with the badly cut'nails. He was even 
not quite sure that the ends of the fingers were perfectly clean, 
and the skin round the nails was distinctly bitten. Hans Castorp 
made a face; but his eyes remained fixed on Madame Chauchat’s 
back, as he vaguely recalled what Dr. Krokowski had been saving, 
about counteracting influences of a bourgeois kind, which set 
themselves up against the power of love. — The arm, in its gentle 
upward curve, was better than the hand; it w as scarcely clothed, 
for the material of the sleeve was thinner than that of the blouse, 
being the lightest gauze, which had the effect of lending the arm 
a sort of shadowed radiance, making it prettier than it might other- 
wise have been. It was at once both full and slender — in all prob- 
ability cool to the touch. No, so far as the arm went, the idea about 
counteracting bourgeois influences did not apply. 

Hans Castorp mused, his gaze still bent on Frau Chauchat’s arm. 
The way women dressed' They showed their necks and bosoms, 
they transfigured their arms by veiling them in “ illusion ”; they 
did so, the world over, to arouse our desire. O God, how r beautiful 
life was! And it was just such accepted commonplaces as this that 
made it beautiful — for it was a commonplace that women dressed 
themselves alluringly, it was so well known and recognized a fact 
that we never consciously realized it, but merely enjoyed it with- 
out a thought. And yet he had an inward conviction that we ought 
to think about it, ought to realize what a blessed, what a well-nigh 
miraculous arrangement it was. For of course it all had a certain 
end and aim; it was by a definite design that women were per- 
mitted to array themselves with irresistible allure: it was for the 
sake of posterity, for the perpetuation of the species. Of course. 
But suppose a woman were inwardly diseased, unfit for mother- 
hood— what then? What was the sense of her wearing gauze 
sleeves and attracting male attention to her physical parts if these 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


I 3° 

were actually unsound? Obviously there was no sense; it ought to 
be considered immoral, and forbidden as such. For a man to take 
an interest in a woman inwardly diseased had no more sense than 
— well, than the interest Hans Castorp had once taken in Pribislav 
Hippe. The comparison was a stupid one; it roused memories 
better forgotten; he had not meant to make it, it came into his 
head unbidden. But at this point his musings broke off, largely 
because Dr. Krokowski had raised his voice and so drawn atten- 
tion once more upon himself. He was standing there behind his 
table, with his arms outstretched and his head on one side — al- 
most, despite the frock-coat, he looked like Christ on the cross. 

It seemed that at the end of his lecture Dr. Krokowski was 
making propaganda for psycho-analysis; with open arms he sum- 
moned all and sundry to come unto him. “ Come unto me,” he was 
saying, though not in those words, “ come unto me, all ye who 
are weary and heavy-laden.” And he left no doubt of his convic- 
tion that all those present were weary and heavy-laden. He spoke 
of secret suffering, of shame and sorrow, of the redeeming power 
of the analytic. He advocated the bringing of light into the uncon- 
scious mind and explained how the abnormality was metamor- 
phosed into the conscious emotion; he urged them to have confi- 
dence; he promised relief. Then he let fall his arms, raised his head, 
gathered up his notes and went out by the corridor door, with his 
head in the air, and the bundle of papers held schoolmaster fashion, 
in his left hand, against his shoulder. 

His audience rose, pushed back its chairs, and slowly began to 
move towards the same door, as though converging upon him 
from all sides, without volition, hesitatingly, yet with one accord, 
like the throng after the Pied Piper. Hans Castorp stood in the 
stream without moving, his hand on the back of his chair. I am 
only a guest up here, he thought. Thank God I am healthy, that 
business has nothing to do with me; I shan’t even be here for the 
next lecture. He watched Frau Chauchat going out, gliding along 
with her head thrust forward. Did she have herself psycho-ana- 
lysed, he wondered. And his heart began to thump. He did not 
notice Joachim, coming toward him among the chairs, and started 
when his cousin spoke. 

“ You got here at the last minute,” Joachim said. “ Did you go 
very far? How was it? ” 

“ Oh, very nice,” Hans Castorp answered. “ Yes, I went rather 
a long way. But I must confess, it did me less good than I thought 
it would. I won’t repeat it for the present.” 

Joachim did not ask how he liked the lecture; neither did Hans 



DOUBTS AND CONSIDERATIONS 131 

Castorp express an opinion. By common consent they let the sub- 
ject rest, both then and thereafter. 

Doubts and Considerations 

Tuesday was the last day of our hero’s week up here, and accord- 
ingly he found his weekly bill in his room on his return from the 
morning walk. It was a clear and businesslike document, in a 
green envelope, with a picture of the Rerghof building at the top, 
and extracts from the prospectus carried in a narrow column 
down the left-hand side of the sheet. “ Psycho-analytic treatment, 
by the most modern methods ” was called attention to by means 
of spaced type. The items, set down in a calligraphic hand, came 
to one hundred and eighty francs almost exactly: eight francs a 
day for his chamber, twelve for board and medical attendance, en- 
trance fee twenty, disinfection of room ten, while small charges 
for laundry, beer, and the late dinner of the first evening made up 
the sum. 

Hans Castorp went over the bill with Joachim and found naught 
to object to. “ Of course I made no use of the medical attendance,” 
he said, “ but that was my own affair. It is included in the price of 
pension, and I couldn’t expect them to make any deduction; how 
could they? As regards the disinfection, they must show a neat 
profit there, they never could have used ten francs’ worth of 
H 2 CO to smoke the American woman out. But on the whole I 
must say I find it cheap rather than dear, considering what they 
offer.” And before second breakfast they went down to the man- 
agement in order that Hans Castorp might acquit himself of his 
debt. 

The management was on the ground-floor. You reached it after 
passing the hall, the garderobe, the kitchens and domestic offices; 
you could not miss the door, it had a porcelain shield. Hans Ca- 
storp took an interest in this glimpse into the business side of the 
enterprise. There was a neat little office, with a typist busy at her 
machine and three clerks bending over desks. In an adjoining office 
a man who looked like a head or director was working at a desk 
in the middle of the room; he flung a cool and calculating glance 
at the clients over the top of his glasses. Their affair was dispatched 
at the cashier’s window, a note changed, money received, the bill 
receipted; the cousins preserving throughout these transactions 
the solemn, discreet, almost overawed bearing which the young 
German’s respect for authority leads him to assume in the presence 
of pens, ink, and paper, or anything else which bears to his mind 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


x 3 2 

an official stamp. But on the way to breakfast, and later in the 
course of the day, they talked about the direction of the Berghof 
sanatorium, and Joachim, in his character as inmate, answered his 
cousin’s questions. 

Hofrat Behrens was not — though he gave the impression of 
being — owner and proprietor of the establishment. Above and 
behind him stood invisible powers, which to a certain extent mani- 
fested their existence in the office they had just visited. They con- 
sisted of a supervisory head and a stock company — in which it 
was not a bad thing to hold shares, according to Joachim, since the 
members of it divided a fat dividend each year. The Hofrat was a 
dependent, he was merely an agent, a functionary, an associate of 
higher powers; the first and highest, of course, and the soul of the 
enterprise, with a well-defined influence upon it and upon the man- 
agement itself — though of course as directing physician he was re- 
lieved of all preoccupation with the business side. He was a native 
of north-western Germany, and it was common knowledge that 
when he took the position, years ago, he had done so contrary to his 
previous intention and plans. He had come here on account of his 
wife — whose remains had long reposed in the village churchyard, 
that picturesque churchyard of Dorf Davos, which lay high up on 
the right-hand slope, nearer the entrance of the valley. She had been 
a charming person, to judge from her likenesses, though too large- 
eved and asthenic-looking. Photographs of her stood about every- 
where in the Hofrat ’s house; even oil portraits by his own amateur 
hand hung on the walls. Two children, a son and a daughter, had 
been born; then they had brought her up here, the fragile body 
alreadv fever-smitten; a few months had seen the completion of the 
wasting-away process. Behrens, they said, had adored her. He was 
brought so low by the blow that he got very odd and melancholy; 
people saw him gesturing, sniggering, and talking to himself, on the 
street. He did not go back to his original place, but remained where 
he w as — in part, no doubt, because he could not tear himself away 
from her grave, but also for the less sentimental reason that he was 
himself in poor health and, in his own professional opinion, actually 
belonged here. He had settled down as one of the physicians who 
are companions in suffering to the patients in their care; who do 
not stand above disease, fighting her in the armour of personal se- 
curity, but who themselves bear her mark — an odd, but by no 
means isolated, case, and one which has its good as well as its bad 
side. Sympathy between doctor and patient is surely desirable, and 
a case might be made out for the view that only he who suffers can 
be the guide and healer of the suffering. And yet — can true spirit- 


DOUBTS AND CONSIDERATIONS 


ual mastery over a power be won by him who is counted among 
her slaves? Can he free others who himself is not free- The ailing 
physician remains a paradox to the average mind, a questionable 
phenomenon. May not his scientific knowledge tend to be clouded 
and confused by his own participation, rather than enriched and 
morally reinforced 5 He cannot face disease in clear-eved hostility 
to her; he is a prejudiced party, his position is equivocal. With all 
due reserve it must be asked whether a man who himself belongs 
among the ailing can give himself to the cure or care of others as 
can a man who is himself entirely sound. 

Hans Castorp expressed some of these doubts and speculations, 
as he and Joachim gossiped about the Berghof and its professional 
head. But Joachim answered that nobody knew whether the Hof- 
rat was still a patient — he was probably long since cured. It was 
ages ago that he had first begun to practise here; independently at 
first, and early winning a name for himself as an extraordinarily 
gifted auscultator and skilful surgeon. Then the Berghof had se- 
cured him; it would soon be ten years that he had been in intimate 
association with it. His private residence was in the end of the 
north-west wing of the building (Dr. Krokowski’s was not far 
off), and that lady of the lofty lineage, the nursing sister and direc- 
tress of the establishment, of whom Settembrim had made such 
utter fun, and whom thus far Hans Castorp had scarcely seen, pre- 
sided over the small household. The Hofrat was otherwise alone, 
for his son was at the university and his daughter already married, 
to a lawyer in one of the French cantons. Young Behrens some- 
times visited his father in the holidays; he had done so once during 
Joachim’s time up here. The ladies, he related, had been quite 
thrilled; their temperatures had gone up, petty jealousies had led 
to bickering and quarrels in the rest-hail and an increase of visits 
to Dr. Krokow r ski’s private office. 

The assistant had his own office hours, in a special room, which, 
together with the large examination-rooms, the laboratory, the 
operating-rooms and x-ray studio, was in the well-lighted base- 
ment of the building. We call it the basement, for the stone steps 
leading down to it from the ground-floor created the impression 
that it was such — an erroneous impression, for not only was the 
ground-floor somewhat elevated, but the entire building stood on 
a sidehill, part way up the mountain, and these basement rooms 
faced the front, with a view of the gardens and valley, a circum- 
stance negatived to some extent by the fact of the steps leading 
down to them. One descended, as one supposed, from the ground- 
floor, only to find oneself at the bottom still on it, or practically 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


134 

so. Hans Castorp amused himself with this illusion when he ac- 
companied his cousin one afternoon down to the “ bathing-mas- 
ter,” that Joachim might get himself weighed. A clinical brilliance 
and spotlessness reigned in this sphere. Everything was as white 
as white; the doors gleamed with white enamel; the one leading to 
Dr. Krokowski’s receiving-room, with the doctor’s visiting-card 
tacked on it, was reached by two more steps down from the cor- 
ridor, which gave the room behind it an air of being more spacious 
and withdrawn than the rest. This door was at the end of the cor- 
ridor, on your right as you came downstairs. Hans Castorp kept 
his eye on it as he walked up and down waiting for his cousin. He 
saw a lady come out, a recent arrival, whose name he did not 
know: a small, dainty person, with curls on her forehead, and gold 
ear-rings. She bent over as she mounted the stairs, and held up her 
frock with one beringed hand, while with the other she pressed her 
tiny handkerchief to her lips and, all stooped as she was, stared up 
over it into nothing, with great blue, distracted eyes. She hurried 
with small tripping steps, her petticoat rustling, to the stairs, paused 
suddenly as though something had occurred to her, then went on 
tripping upward, and disappeared, still bending over and holding 
her handkerchief to her mouth. 

Behind her, when she opened the office door, it had been much 
darker than in the white corridor. Obviously the brilliant lighting 
of these lower regions did not extend so far; Hans Castorp re- 
marked that a shadowed dusk, a profound twilight, prevailed in 
Dr. Krokowski’s private sanctum. 

Table-Talk 

Young Hans Castorp noticed that the ancestral tremor brought on 
by his ill-advised walk continued to trouble him — he found it 
rather an embarrassment when in the dining-room. Almost as a 
regular thing now, his head would begin shaking at table; he found 
this impossible to prevent and hard to dissemble. He tried various 
devices to disguise the weakness, for he could not continually sup- 
port his chin on his collar; he would keep his head in action, turn- 
ing it to the right and left in conversation, or bear hard against the 
table with the left forearm when he carried a spoonful of soup to 
his mouth, and support his head with his hand. In the pauses he 
even rested his elbow on the table, this although it was in his own 
eyes a piece of ill breeding, which would not pass in any society 
save the lax abnormal one where he now found himself. But the 
weakness was burdensome too and went far to spoil the meal hours 



TABLE-TALK 


*35 

for him, which he had otherwise continued to find diverting and 
full of interesting episode. 

But the truth was — and Hans Castorp was entirely aware of 
it — that the absurd manifestation against which he struggled was 
not solely physical in its origin, not wholly to be accounted for by 
the air up here and the efforts his system made to adjust itself. 
Rather was it the outward expression of his inner stimulation, and 
bore directly upon those very episodes and diversions. 

Madame Chauchat almost invariably came late to meals. Until 
she came, Hans Castorp could not sit and keep his feet still, but 
must wait in suspense for the crashing of the glass door; he knew 
it would make him start and that his face would feel cold all over, 
and this was what regularly happened. At first he had jerked round 
his head infuriated and followed the offender with angry eyes to 
her seat at the “ good ” Russian table. He may even have muttered 
some abusive epithet between his teeth, some outraged cry of pro- 
test. But now he only bent over his plate, bit his lips, or deliber- 
ately turned his head away. It seemed to him that anger was no 
longer in place; he even had an obscure feeling that he was partly 
responsible, that he shared the blame with her before the others. 
In short, it would be no longer so true to say he was ashamed of 
Frau Chauchat as that he was ashamed for her — a feeling he might 
well have spared himself, for not a soul in the room troubled 
either over Frau Chauchat’s misconduct or Hans Castorp’s sensi- 
tiveness to it — with the possible exception of the schoolmistress, 
Fraulein Engelhart, on his right. 

This poor creature had perceived that, thanks to his sensibility 
in the matter of slamming doors, a certain emotional attitude 
toward the Russian lady was come to subsist in her young neigh- 
bour’s mind. Further, that the grounds of the attitude were of little 
moment compared to the fact of its existence; and, finally, that his 
assumed indifference — very poorly assumed, for Hans Castorp 
had neither talent nor training as an actor — did not mean a de- 
crease of interest, but on the contrary indicated that the affair was 
passing into a higher phase. Fraulein Engelhart was for her own 
person quite without hopes or pretensions. She therefore launched 
out into extravagant enthusiasm over Frau Chauchat — about which 
quite the most extraordinary thing was that Hans Castorp saw per- 
fectly how she was egging him on — not all at once, perhaps, but 
in the course of time — saw through it and even felt disgusted at 
it, yet without being the less willingly led on by her and made a 
fool of. 

“ Slam - bang! ” the old spinster said. “ That was she. No need 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


136 

to look up to tell who just came in. Of course, there she goes — 
like a kitten to a saucer of milk — how pretty it is! I wish we might 
change places, so you could look at her as much as you liked. 
Naturally you don’t care to keep turning your head — that would 
flatter her far too much. She is greeting her table — you really 
ought to look, it is so refreshing to see her! When she smiles and 
talks as she is doing now, a dimple comes in one cheek, but not 
always, only when she likes. What a love of a woman! A spoilt 
child, that is why she is so heedless. Creatures like that one has to 
love, whether one will or no; they vex you with their heedlessness, 
but that is only one reason the more for loving them; it makes you 
so- happy to have to care for them in spite of yourself.” 

She whispered on, behind her hand, for his ear alone; the flush 
that mantled on her downy old cheek bespoke a rising tempera- 
ture, and the suggestiveness of her talk pierced Hans Castorp to 
the very marrow. It did him good to hear someone else confirm his 
view that Madame Chauchat was an enchanting creature. He was 
a young man of not very independent judgments, and glad to be 
encouraged in certain feelings he had, upon which both reason and 
conscience united to frown. 

But Fraulein Engelhart, however much she would have liked 
to, could tell him practically nothing about Frau Chauchat. She 
knew no more than the whole sanatorium knew, and his conver- 
sations with her bore little practical fruit. She did not even know 
the lady to speak to, nor could she boast a single common acquaint- 
ance. Her only title to importance was that she lived in Konigs- 
berg, not very far from the Russian border; also that she knew a 
few scraps of Russian. These were but meagre distinctions; yet 
Hans Castorp was prepared to see in them something resembling 
an extensive personal connexion with Frau Chauchat. 

“ I see that she wears no ring, no wedding-ring,” he said. “ Why 
is that? She is a married woman, I think you told me ? ” 

The schoolmistress was quite perturbed; she seemed to feel 
driven into a comer and sought for words to talk herself out again, 
so very responsible did she feel for Frau Chauchat. 

“ You must not attach importance to that,” she finally said. 
“ I’m positive she is married. There is no doubt of it. Of course 
I know some foreigners do use the Madame when they are getting 
a little on in years, for the sake of the greater respect people pay a 
married woman. But it is not the case here. Everyone knows she 
really has a husband, somewhere in Russia. Her maiden name was 
not French but Russian, something in anow or ukov — I did know 
it, but I have forgotten. I will ask if you like; there must be several 



TABLE-TALK 


1 37 

people here who know it. No, she wears no ring, I have noticed it 
myself. Dear me, perhaps she finds it makes her hand look too 
broad. Or she thinks it is too bourgeois and domestic to wear a 
plain gold wedding-ring. She might as well carry a key basket. 
No, she is built on broader lines than that — Russian women all 
have something free and large about them. And then, a wedding- 
ring seems so*prosaic, it is almost repellent' It is a symbol of posses- 
sion; it is always saying 4 Hands off it turns every woman into a 
nun. I should not be at all surprised if that is what Frau Chauchat 
thinks. A charming woman like her, in the blot m of youth — why 
should she, every time she gives a man her hand to kiss, tell him 
straightway that she is bound in wedlock 5 

44 Good Lord,” thought Hans Castorp, 44 how she does run on' ” 
He looked into her face, quite alarmed. But she countered his gaze 
with her embarrassed, half-frightened one. They were both silent 
awhile and sought to recover themselves. Hans Castorp ate his 
luncheon and supported his chin. 

At length he said: 44 And her husband" He doesn’t trouble him- 
self about her 5 Does he never visit her up here 5 Do you know 
what he does 5 ” 

44 Official. Russian government official, in some distant province, 
Daghestan, you know, out bevond the Caucasus, he was ordered 
there. No, as I tell you, no one has ever seen him up here. And this 
time she has been here going on three months.” 

44 She was here before, then 5 ” 

44 This is the third time. And between times she goes to other 
places — other sanatormms. But it is she who sometimes visits him, 
not often, once in the year for a little while. One may say they live 
separated, and she visits him now and again.” 

44 Well, of course, she is ill — ” 

44 Yes, of course — but not so ill. Not so ill as to have to live all 
her life in sanatoriums and apart from her husband. There must be 
other reasons for that. Everyone up here thinks there must be 
other reasons. Perhaps she does not like to live out there in Dag- 
hestan, the other side of the Caucasus; it would not be strange — 
such a wild, remote place! But there must be something about the 
man too, if she can’t bear to be with him. He has a French name, 
but after all he is a Russian official, and that is a very rough type, 1 
do assure you. I once saw one of them, with an iron-grey beard 
and a red face -they are all frightfully corrupt too, and drink 
quantities of vodka, you know. They will eat a little something, 
for the look of the thing, a mushroom marine, some caviar, and 
then drink out of all measure and call it a light lunch. 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


138 

“ You are putting everything off on him,” Hans Castorp said 
“ But we can’t know if the responsibility is not hers, of their not 
living together. One ought to be just. When I look at her and see 
the unmannerly way she behaves about the door — I assure you 
she’s no angel; excuse me for saying so. I wouldn’t trust her across 
the street. But you are so partial. You are blinded by prejudice in 
her favour.” 

This was the line he sometimes took. With a cunning otherwise 
foreign to his nature he would make out that the schoolmistress’s 
ravings over Madame Chauchat were not what he very well knew 
them to be, but an independent phenomenon, of a quaint and 
amusing kind; about which he, Hans Castorp, made free to tease 
the old spinster, feeling his own withers unwrung. He risked noth- 
ing by this attitude, being confident that his accomplice would 
agree to anything he said, no matter how wide of the mark. 

“ Good-morning,” he greeted her, “ I hope you slept well and 
dreamed of your charmer? Mistress Mary, quite contrary — or 
whatever her name is! Upon my word, one has only to speak of 
her to make you blush! You have completely lost your head over 
her — you can’t deny it.” 

And the schoolmistress, who really had blushed and tucked her 
head down over her cup, would mumble out of the left-hand cor- 
ner of her mouth: “ Shame on you, Herr Castorp! It really is too 
bad of you to embarrass me like this. Everyone can see we are 
talking about her and that you have said something to make me 
get red.” 

It was an extraordinary game the two of them were playing; 
each perfectly aware that they lied and double-lied, each knowing 
that Hans Castorp teased the schoolmistress only in order to be 
able to talk about Frau Chauchat. He took a morbid and extrava- 
gant pleasure in thus trifling with Fraulein Engelhart, and she on 
her side reciprocated; first out of a natural instinct to be the go- 
between in a love-affair, secondly because to oblige Hans Castorp 
she had actually contrived to fall victim to Frau Chauchat s 
charms; and finally because she felt a pathetic joy in having him 
tease her and make her blush. He well knew, and she well knew, 
all this about each other and themselves; each knew that the other 
knew and that the whole situation was equivocal and almost ques- 
tionable. Equivocal and questionable situations were, in general, 
repugnant to Hans Castorp’s taste, and the present one was no ex- 
ception. He felt disgusted, yet for all that he went on fishing in 
these troubled waters, quieting his conscience with the assurance 
that he was only up here on a visit and would soon be leaving. He 



TABLE-TALK 


139 

pronounced upon the young woman’s charms with the air of a 
connoisseur; said she was “ sloppy,” that she looked younger and 
prettier full face than profile; that her eyes were too far apart; that 
she carried herself in a way that left much to be desired; that her 
arms, on the other hand, were pretty and soft-looking. He felt his 
head shaking as he talked; he tried to suppress the trembling, and 
realized not only that the schoolmistress must see his efforts, but, 
with profound disgust, that her head was actually shaking too! But 
he went on — he had purposely called Frau Chauchat Mistress 
Mary, in order that he might put the question of her name, so now 
he said: “ I suppose her name is not Mary at all; do you know what 
it is? I mean her given name. You must know it, being as much 
smitten as you are! ” 

The schoolmistress reflected. “ Wait half a minute,” she said. “ I 
knew it, once. Was it Tatiana? No — nor Natascha. Natascha 
Chauchat? No, that was not it. Wait, I have it — it was Avdotia. 
Or at least something very like that. It was not Katienka or Nin- 
otschka, of that I am certain. I can’t quite get it, for the moment. 
But I can surely recall it if you would like to know.” 

And next day she actually did know the name, and uttered it 
the moment the glass door slammed. Frau Chauchat’s name was 
Clavdia. 

Hans Castorp did not grasp it at first. He had to have her repeat 
the name, even to spell it, before he understood. Then he pro- 
nounced it twice or thrice, turning his bloodshot eyes in Frau 
Chauchat’s direction, in order, as it were, to try if it suited. 

“ Clavdia,” he said. “ Yes, that is probably it; it fits her quite 
well.” He could not hide his pleasure in the degree of intimacy 
thus achieved, and from now on referred always to Frau Chauchat 
as Clavdia. “ Your Clavdia appears to be making bread pills. That’s 
not very elegant, I should think.” 

“ It depends on who does it,” the schoolmistress would answer. 
“ Clavdia it becomes.” 

Yes, unquestionably the meal-times in the hall with the seven 
tables had great charm for Hans Castorp. He hated to have one 
come to an end, and his consolation was that soon, in two or three 
hours, he would be back again. While he was sitting there, it was 
as though he had never risen. And for the time in between.^ It was 
nothing. A short turn as far as the watercourse or the Platz, a little 
rest on his balcony: no great burden, no serious interruption. Not 
as though he had to look forward to some interest or effort, which 
would not have been so easy to overleap in spirit. Effort was not 
the rule in the well-regulated Berghof life. Hans Castorp, when he 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


14O 

rose from one meal, could straightway by anticipation begin to 
rejoice in the next — if, indeed, rejoicing is not too facile, too pleas- 
ant and unequivocal a word for the sentiments with which he 
looked forward to another meeting with the afflicted fait one. The 
reader, on the other hand, may very likely find such adjectives the 
only ones suitable to describe Hans Castorp’s personality or emo- 
tions. But we suggest that a young man with a well-regulated con- 
science and sense of fitness could not, whatever else he did, simply 
“ rejoice in ” Frau Chauchat’s proximity. In fact, we — who must 
surely know — are willing to assert that he himself would have 
repudiated any such expression if it had been suggested to him. 

It is a small detail, yet worthy of mention, that he was growing 
to have a contempt for certain ways of expressing himself. He 
went about with that dry flush on his face and hummed contin- 
ually under his breath — being in a state of mind when music par- 
ticularly appeals. He hummed a ditty heard he knew not where — 
in some evening company or charity concert — sung by some 
thread of a soprano voice; it turned up now in his memory, a soft 
nothing, that went: 

One word from thy sweet lips 

Can strangely thrill me. 

He was about to go on: 

Within my heart it slips 

And raptures fill me — 

but broke off instead, with a disdainful shrug. “ Idiotic! ” he said, 
suddenly finding the tender ditty altogether tasteless, wishy- 
washy, and sentimental. He put it from him with manly sobriety, 
almost with regret. It was the sort of thing to satisfy a young man 
who had “ given his heart,” as we say, given it wholly, legiti- 
mately, and with quite definite intentions, to some healthy little 
goose in the flat-land and thus might be justified in abandoning 
himself to his orthodox and gratifying sensations, with all the 
consequences they entailed. But for him and for his relations with 
Madame Chauchat (we are not responsible for the word relations; 
it was the word Hans Castorp used, not we), such songs had noth- 
ing to do with them. “ Silly! ” he said sententiously, and put his 
nose in the air. But after pronouncing this aesthetic judgment he 
lay silent in his deck-chair, not thinking of anything more suitable 
to sing in its place. 

One thing there was which pleased him: when he lay listening 
to the beating of his heart — his corporeal organ — so plainly audi- 



MOUNTING MISGIVINGS 


141 

ble in the ordered silence of the rest period, throbbing loud and 
peremptorily, as it had done almost ever since he came, the sound 
no longer annoyed him. For now he need not feel that it so beat 
of its own accord, without sense or reason or anv reference to his 
non-corporeal part. He could say, without stretching the truth, 
that such a connexion now existed, or was easily induced: he was 
aware that he felt an emotion to correspond with the action of his 
heart. He needed only to think of Madame Chauchat — and he did 
think of her — and lo, he felt within himself the emotion proper 
to the heart-beats. 

Mounting Misgivings. Of the Tvoo Grandfathers , and the 
Boat-ride in the Twilight 

The weather was vile. In this respect Hans Castorp had no luck 
during the brief term of his visit. It did not snow, but rained all 
day long, a hateful downpour; thick mist wrapped the valley, 
while electric storms — an absurd and uncalled-for phenomenon, 
considering it was so cold that the heat had been turned on — 
rolled and reverberated disagreeablv through the valley. 

“ Too bad,” Joachim said. “ I thought we might take our lunch- 
eons and climb up to the Schatzalp, or something like that. But it 
seems it is not to happen. Let us hope the last week will be better.” 

But Hans Castorp answered: “Let be. I am not so anxious to 
undertake anything for the moment. My first excursion was no 
great success. I find it does me more good just to take the day as 
it comes, without too much variation. I leave that sort of thing to 
people who have been up here for years. What do I want of 
variety in my three weeks’ time 5 ” 

He "did, indeed, find his time well taken up, just as he was. What- 
ever his hopes, they would come to fruition — or else they would 
not — here on the spot and not on any Schatzalp. Time did not 
hang heavy on his hands — rather he began to feel the end of his 
stay approach all too near. The second week was passing; soon 
two-thirds of his holiday would be gone; the third week would 
no sooner begin than it would be time to think of packing. The re- 
freshment of his sense of time was long since a thing of the past; 
the days rushed on — yes, in the mass they rushed on, though at 
the same time each, single day stretched out long and longer to 
hold the crowded, secret hopes and fears that filled it to over- 
flowing. Ah, time is a riddling thing, and hard it is to expound its 
essence! 

Must we put plainer name to those inward experiences which 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


142 

at once both weighted and gave wings to Hans Castorp’s days? 
We all know them; their emotional inanity ran true to type. They 
would have taken no different course even had their origin been 
such as to make applicable the silly song on which he had pro- 
nounced his severe aesthetic judgment. 

Impossible that Madame Chauchat should know nothing of the 
threads that were weaving between her and a certain table. In- 
deed, Hans Castorp definitely, wilfully purposed that she should 
know something, or even a good deal. We say wilfully because his 
eyes were open, he was aware that reason and good sense were 
against it. But when a man is in Hans Castorp’s state — or the state 
he was beginning to be in — he longs, above all, to have her of 
whom he dreams- aware that he dreams, let reason and common 
sense say what they like to the contrary. Thus are we made. 

So, after it had happened twice or thrice that Madame Chau- 
chat, impelled by chance or magnetic attraction, had turned and 
looked in the direction of Hans Castorp’s table and met each time 
his eyes fixed upon her, she turned the fourth time with intent — 
and met them again. On the fifth occasion she did not catch him 
in flagrante; he was not at his post. Yet he straightway felt her 
eyes upon him, turned, and gazed so ardently that she smiled* and 
looked away. Rapture — and misgiving — filled him at sight of that 
smile. Did she take him for a child? Very well, she should see. He 
cast about for means to refine upon the position. On the sixth 
occasion, when he felt, he divined, an inner voice whispered him, 
that she was looking, he pretended to be absorbed in disgusted 
contemplation of a pimply dame who had stopped to talk with the 
great-aunt. He stuck to his guns for a space of two or three min- 
utes, until he was certain the “ Kirghiz ” eyes had been withdrawn 
— a marvellous piece of play-acting, which Frau Chauchat not 
only might, but was expressly intended to see through, to the end 
that she be impressed with Hans Castorp’s subtlety and self-con- 
trol. Then came the following episode. Frau Chauchat, between 
courses, turned carelessly about and surveyed the dining-room. 
Hans Castorp was on guard; their glances met, she peering at him 
with a vaguely mocking look on her face, he with a determination 
that made him clench his teeth. And as they looked, her serviette 
slipped down from her lap and was about to fall to the floor. She 
reached after it nervously and he felt the motion in all his limbs, 
so that he half rose from his chair and was about to spring wildly 
to her aid across eight yards of space and an intervening table — 
as though some dire catastrophe must ensue if the serviette were to 
touch the floor. She possessed herself of it just in time; then, still 



MOUNTING MISGIVINGS 


*43 

stooping, holding it by the comer, and frowning in evident vexa- 
tion at the contretemps, for which she seemed to hold him respon- 
sible, she looked back once more and saw him with lifted brows, 
sitting there poised for a spring! Again she smiled and turned 
away. 

Hans Castorp was in the seventh heaven over this occurrence. 
True, he had to pay for it: for full two days — that is to say, for 
the space of ten meal-times, Madame Chauchat never looked his 
way. She even intermitted her habit of pausing on her entrance, 
to survey the room and, as it were, present herself to it. That was 
hard to bear; yet, since it undoubtedly happened on his account, 
it preserved the relation between them, if only jn its negative side. 
That was something. 

He saw how right Joachim had been in saying that it was hard 
to get acquainted here, except w r ith one’s table companions. For 
one brief hour after the evening meal social relations of a son did 
obtain. But they often shrank to twenty minutes’ length; and al- 
ways Madame Chauchat spent the time, whether longer or shorter, 
with her own circle, in the small salon. Her friends were the hol- 
low-chested man, the whimsical girl with the fuzzy hair, the silent 
Dr. Blumenkohl, and the youth with the drooping shoulders - the 
“ good ” Russian table had, it seemed, pre-empted the room for 
its own use. Furthermore, Joachim was always urging an early 
withdrawal. He said it was in order to spend full time in the eve- 
ning cure — but there were perhaps other disciplinary reasons left 
unspecified, which his cousin surmised and respected. We have re- 
proached Hans Castorp with being “ wilful ”; but certainly, what- 
ever the goal toward which his wishes led, it was not that of social 
intercourse with Madame Chauchat. He concurred, generally 
speaking, in the circumstances that militated against it. The rela- 
tion between him and the young Russian, a tense though tenuous 
bond, the product of his assiduous glances, was of an extra-social 
sort. It entailed, and could entail, no obligations. It could subsist, 
in his mind, along with a degree of distaste for any social approach. 
It was one thing for our young friend to call Clavdia to ac- 
count for the beatings of his heart; but quite another for him, the 
grandson of Hans Lorenz Castorp, to be shaken in the smallest 
degree in the sure inward conviction that this door-slamming, 
finger-gnawing, bread-pill-making foreigner — who carried her- 
self so badly, who lived apart from her husband, and without a 
ring on her finger careered from one resort to another — that this 
foreigner was indubitably not a person for him to cultivate; not, 
that is, over and above the secret relation we have indicated. A 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


I44 

deep gulf divided their two existences; he felt, he knew, that he 
was not up to defending her in the face of any recognized social 
authority. Hans Castorp was, for his own person, quite without 
arrogance; yet a larger arrogance, the pride of caste and tradition, 
stood written on his brow and in his sleepy-looking eyes, and 
voiced itself in the conviction of his own superiority, which came 
over him when he measured Frau Chauchat for what she was. It 
was this which he neither could, nor wished to, shake off. Strangely 
enough, he first became vividly conscious of his conviction on a day 
when he heard Frau Chauchat speaking in his native tongue. She 
stood in the dining-room after a meal, her hands in the pockets of 
her sweater, and charmingly struggled to converse in German with 
another patient, probably a rest-hall acquaintance. Hans Castorp 
felt an unwonted thrill — never before had he been so proud of 
his mother-tongue — yet at the same time experienced a tempta- 
tion to offer up his pride on the altar of quite a different feeling — 
the rapture which filled him at the sound of her pretty stammer- 
ings and manglings of his speech. 

In a word, Hans Castorp envisaged in this opening affair be- 
tween him and the heedless creature who was a member of the 
Berghof society no more than a holiday adventure. Before the 
tribunal of reason, conscience, and common sense it could make 
no claims to be heard; principally, of course, because when all was 
said and done, Frau Chauchat was an ailing woman, feeble, fevered, 
and tainted within; her physical condition had much to do with 
the questionable life she led, as also with Hans Castorp’s instinc- 
tive reservations. No, it simply did not occur to him to seek her 
society; while as for the rest — well, however the thing turned 
out, it would be over in one way or another inside ten days, when 
he would enter upon his apprenticeship at Tunder and Wilms’s. 

For the moment, however, he had begun to live in and for the 
emotions roused in him by the pretty patient: the up and down 
of suspense, fulfilment or disappointment, characteristic of such 
a state. He came to regard these feelings as the real meaning and 
content of his stay; his mood depended wholly upon their event. 
All the circumstances of life up here favoured their development. 
For the inviolably daily programme brought the two constantly 
together. True, Frau Chauchat’s chamber was on a different storey 
from his own, and she performed her cure, so the schoolmistress 
said, in the general rest-hall on the roof (the same in which Cap- 
tain Miklosich had lately turned off the light). But there were the 
five meal-times; and besides them, innumerable occasions in the 
daily goings and comings when not only might they meet, but it 


MOUNTING MISGIVINGS T . r 

*45 

was practically unavoidable they should. And that, Hans Castoro 
thought, was all to the good. So was the fact that he had little to 
do between one occasion and the next, except think about them 
He found, indeed, something almost breathless about bein<r thus 
as it were, immured with opportunity. & 

Which did not prevent him from employing all manner of de- 
vices to improve the position. His charmer came regularly late to 
meals; he did the same, with intent to waylay her. He dallied over 
his toilet, was not ready when Joachim knocked, and let his cousin 
go on before — he would catch up with him. He would wait until 
the intuition proper to his state warned him of the right moment; 
then he would hurry down, not by his own stair, but by the one 
at the end of the corridor, which would take him past a certain 
door — number seven — in the first storey. Every moment of the 
way, every step of the stair, offered a chance, any instant the door 
might open - and in practice it often did. Out she would slip, 
noiselessly, the door would slam behind her, she would glide to 
the stairs, she would pass down ahead of him, with her hand up 
to her braids of hair — or else he would be in front of her, feel her 
gaze in his back, and experience a thrill as from an ant crawling 
down it. His bearing, of course, was that of a person unaware of 
her presence, leading a free and independent existence of his own: 
he would bury his hands in his pockets, walk with a swagger, 
cough an entirely unnecessary cough, and strike himself on "the 
chest — anything to manifest his utter unconcern. 

On two occasions he refined yet further. AI ready seated at the 
table, he felt himself with both hands, and said with a fine show 
of irritation: “ There, Eve forgotten my handkerchief. That means 
I must trot back again to fetch it.” And went back, to the end that 
he and she might meet on the v\ ay, since that afforded a keener 
throb than when she merely walked in front of or behind him. The 
first time he executed this manoeuvre, she measured him with her 
eyes from a distance, swept him from head to foot, quite bold and 
unblushing. Then approaching nearer, turned away indifferently 
and passed him by. So that he got but little out of the demarche. 
The second time she stared him in the face without flinching, al- 
most forbiddingly, even turning her head as they crossed, to fol- 
low him with her look — it went through our poor young friend 
like a knife. We need not pity him, for was it not all his own 
doing? But the encounter was gripping at the moment and even 
more afterwards — for only in retrospect was he clear as to what 
had actually happened. He had never seen Frau Chauchat’s face so 
close, so clear in all its details. He could have counted the tiny 



THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


146 

hairs that stood up from the braid she wore wreathed round her 
head — they were reddish-blond, with a metallic sheen. No more 
than a hands-breadth or so of space had been between his face and 
hers, whose outline and features, peculiar though they were, had 
been familiar to him as long as he could remember, and spoke to 
his very soul as nothing else could in all the world. It was an un- 
usual face, and full of character (for only the unusual seems to us 
to have character) ; its mystery and strangeness spoke of the un- 
known north, and it teased the curiosity because its proportions 
and characteristics were somehow not very easy to determine. Its 
keynote, probably, was the high, bony structure of the prominent 
cheek-bones; they seemed to compress the eyes — which were un- 
usually far apart and unusually level with the face — and squeeze 
them into a slightly oblique position; while at the same time they 
appeared responsible for the soft concavity of the cheek, and this, 
in turn, to result in the full curve of the slightly pouting lips. Then 
there were the eyes themselves: the narrow “ Kirghiz ” eyes, 
whose shape was yet to Hans Castorp a simple enchantment and 
whose colour was the grey-blue or blue-grey of distant moun- 
tains; they had the trick of sidewise, unseeing glance, which could 
sometimes melt them into the very hue of mystery and darkness 
— these eyes of Clavdia, which had gazed so forbiddingly into his 
very face, and which so awfully resembled Pribislav Hippe’s in 
shape, expression, and colour that they fairly frightened him. 
Resembled was not the word: they were the same eyes. The 
breadth, too, of the upper part of the face, the flattened nose, 
everything, even to the flush in the white skin, the healthy colour 
of the cheek — which in Frau Chauchat’s case, as in so many 
others, merely counterfeited health and was a superficial effect of 
the open-air cure — everything was precisely Pribislav, and no 
differently would he have looked at Hans Castorp were they to 
meet again as of old in the school court-yard. 

It had been staggering in the extreme. Hans Castorp thrilled at 
the encounter, yet experienced a mounting uneasiness like that 
he felt when he realized how narrow was the proximity that en- 
closed him and the fair Russian. That the long-forgotten Pribislav 
Hippe should appear to him in the guise of Frau Chauchat and 
look at him with those “ Kirghiz ” eyes — this was to be immured, 
not with opportunity, but with the inevitable, the unescapable, to 
such an extent as to fill him with conflicting emotions. It was a 
vev ^ ^ ex. \n£,*xm n, thcad — ix. our 

friend a feeling of helplessness, and set in motion a vague Instinct 
to cast about, to grope and feel for help or counsel. One after an- 



MOUNTING MISGIVINGS 


J 47 

other he mentally summoned up various people, the thought of 
whom might serve him as some sort of mental support. 

There was the good, the upright Joachim, firm as a rock — 
yet whose eyes in these past months had come to hold such a tragic 
shadow, and who had never used to shrug his shoulders, as he 
did so often now. Joachim, with the “ Blue Peter ” in his pocket, 
as Frau Stohr called the receptacle. When Hans Castorp thought 
of her hard, crabbed face it made him shiver. Yes, there was Joa- 
chim — who kept constantly at Hofrat Behrens to let him get away 
and go down to the longed-for sendee in the “ plain ” — the “ flat- 
land,” as the healthy, normal world was called up here, with a 
faint yet perceptible nuance of contempt. Joachim served the cure 
single-mindedly, to the end that he might arrive sooner at his goal 
and save some of the time which “ those up here ” so wantonly 
flung away; served it unquestioningly for the sake of speedy re- 
covery — but also, Hans Castorp detected, for the sake of the cure 
itself, which, after all, was a service, like another; and was not duty 
duty, wherever performed? Joachim invariably went upstairs 
after only a quarter-hour in the drawing-rooms; and this military 
precision of his was a prop to the civilian laxity of his cousin, who 
would otherwise be likely to loiter unprofitably below, with his 
eye on the company in the small salon. But Hans Castorp was con- 
vinced there was another and private reason why Joachim with- 
drew so early; he had known it since the time he saw his cousin’s 
face take on the mottled pallor, and his mouth assume the pathetic 
twist. He perfectly understood. For Marusja was almost always 
there in the evening — laughter-loving Marusja, with the little 
ruby on her charming hand, the handkerchief with the orange 
scent, and the swelling bosom, tainted within — Hans Castorp com- 
prehended that it was her presence which drove Joachim away, 
precisely because it so strongly, so fearfully drew him toward her. 
Was Joachim too “ immured ” — and even worse off than him- 
self, in that he had five times a day to sit at the same table with 
Marusja and her orange-scented handkerchief? However that 
might be, it was clear that Joachim was preoccupied with his own 
troubles; the thought of him could afford his cousin no mental 
support. That he took refuge in daily flight was a credit to him; 
but that he had to flee was anything but reassuring to Hans Ca- 
storp, who even began to feel that Joachim’s good example of 
faithful service of the cure and the initiation which he owed to 
his cousin’s experience might have also their bad side. 

Fdans Castorp \\aa not Y>een up \\ete t\\tee weeks. But it seemed 
longer; and the daily routine which Joachim so piously observed 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


148 

had begun to take on, In his eyes, a character of sanctity . When, 
from the point of view of “ those up here,” he considered life as 
lived down in the flat-land, it seemed somehow queer and un- 
natural. He had grown skilled in the handling of his rugs and the 
art of making a proper bundle, a sort of mummy, of himself, when 
lying on his balcony on cold days. He was almost as skilful as Joa- 
chim — and yet, down below, there was no soul who knew aught 
of such an art or the practice of it! How strange, he thought; yet 
at the same moment wondered at himself for finding it strange — 
and there surged up again that uneasy sensation of groping for 
support. 

He thought of Hofrat Behrens and his professional advice, be- 
stowed “ sine pecunia,” that he should, while he was up here, order 
his life like the other patients, even to the taking of his tempera- 
ture. He thought of Settembrini, and of how he had laughed at 
that same advice, and quoted something out of The Magic Flute. 
Did thinking of either of these two afford him any moral support? 
Hofrat Behrens was a white-haired man, old enough to be Hans 
Castorp’s father. He was the head of the establishment, the highest 
authority. And it was of fatherly authority that the young man 
now felt an uneasy need. But no, it would not do: he could not 
think with childlike confidingness of the Hofrat. The physician 
had buried his wife up here, and been brought so low by grief as 
almost to lose his mind; then he had stopped on, to be near her 
grave and because he himself was somewhat infected. Was he 
sound again? Was he single-mindedly bent on making his patients 
whole, so they could go back to service in the world below? His 
cheeks had a purple hue, he looked fevered. That might be only 
the effect of the air up here; Hans Castorp, without fever, so far 
as he could judge without a thermometer, felt the same dry heat 
in his face, day in, day out. Of course, when one heard the Hofrat 
talk, one might easily conclude he had fever. There was some- 
thing not quite right about it; it all sounded very jovial and lively, 
but on the whole forced, particularly when one thought of the 
purple cheeks and the watery eyes, which seemed to be still weep- 
ing for his wife. Hans Castorp recalled what Settembrini had said 
about the Hofrat’s vices and chronic depression — that might have 
been malicious; it might have been sheer windiness. But he did not 
find it sustained or fortified him to think of Hofrat Behrens. 

Then there was Settembrini himself, of course — the chronic 
oppositionist, the windbag, the “ homo humamis ” as he styled 
himself. Hans Castorp thought him well over, with his gift of the 
gab, his florid harangue on the combination of dullness and dis- 



MOUNTING MISGIVINGS 


149 

ease, and how he, Hans Castorp, had been taken to task tor calling 
it a “dilemma for the human intelligence What about him / 
Would the thought of him be anyway efficacious? Hans Castorp 
recalled how several times, in the extraordinarily vivid dreams 
that visited his sleep in this place, he had taken umbrage at the dry 
and subtle smile curling the Italian’s lip beneath the flowing mous- 
tache; how he had railed at him for a hand-organ man, and tried 
to shove him away because he was a disturbing influence. But that 
was in his dreams — the waking Hans Castorp was no such matter, 
but a much less untrammelled person; not disinclined, either, on 
the whole, to try out the influence upon himself of this novel 
human type, with its critical animus and acumen, despite the fact 
that he found the Italian both carping and garrulous. After all, 
Settembrini had called himself a pedagogue; obviously he was 
anxious to exercise influence; and Hans Castorp, for his part, fairly 
yearned to be influenced — though of course, not to an extent 
which should cause him to pack his trunk and leave before his 
time, as Settembrini had in all seriousness proposed. 

“ Placet experiri he thought to himself, with a smile. So much 
Latin he had, without calling himself a homo hummus. The up- 
shot was that he kept his eye on Settembrini, listened keenly and 
critically to what he had to say when they met on their prescribed 
walks to the bench on the mountain-side, or down to the Platz, 
or wherever and whenever opportunity offered. Other occasions 
there were, too: for instance, at the end of a meal Settembrini 
would rise from table before anyone else and saunter across among 
the seven tables, in his check trousers, a toothpick between his 
lips, to where the cousins sat. He did this in defiance of law and 
custom, standing there in a graceful attitude, with his legs crossed, 
talking and gesticulating with the toothpick. Or he would draw up 
a chair and sit down at the corner of the table, between Hans Ca- 
storp and the schoolmistress, or between Hans Castorp and Miss 
Robinson, and look on while they ate their pudding, which he 
seemed to have forgone. 

“ May I beg for admission into this charmed circle? ” he would 
say, shaking hands with the cousins, and comprehending the rest 
of the table in a sweeping bow. “ My brewer over there - not to 
mention the despairing gaze of the breweress! — But, really, this 
Herr Magnus! Just now he has been delivering a discourse on 
folk-psychology. Shall I tell you what he said? ‘ The Fatherland, 
it is true, is one enormous barracks. But all the same it’s got a lot 
of solid capacity, it’s genuine. I wouldn’t change it for the fine 
manners of the rest of them. What good are fine manners to me if 



THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


150 

I’m cheated right and left? ’ And more of the same kind. I am at the 
end of my patience. And opposite me I have a poor creature, with 
churchyard roses blooming in her cheeks, an old maid from Sieben- 
burgen, who never stops talking about her brother-in-law, a man 
we none of us either know or wish to know. I could stand it no 
longer, I shook their dust from my feet, I bolted.” 

“ You raised your flag and took to your heels,” Frau Stohr 
stated. 

‘ Pre — cisely,” shouted Settembrini. “ I fled with my flag. Ah, 
what an apt phrase! I see I have come to the right place; nobody 
else here knows how to coin phrases like that. — May I be per- 
mitted to inquire after the state of your health, Frau Stohr? ” 

It was frightful to see Frau Stohr preen herself. 

“ Good land! ” she said. “ It is always the same, you know your- 
self: two steps forward and three back. When you have been sit- 
ting here five months, along comes the old man and tucks on an- 
other six. It is like the torment of Tantalus: you shove and shove, 
and think you are getting to the top — ” 

“ Ah, how delightful of you, to give poor old Tantalus a new 
job, and let him roll the stone uphill for a change! I call that true 
benevolence. — But what are these mysterious reports I have been 
hearing of you, Frau Stohr? There are tales going about — tales 
about doubles, astral bodies, and the like. Up to now I have lent 
them no credence — but this latest story puzzles me, I confess.” 

“ I know you are poking fun at me.” 

“ Not for an instant. I beg you to set my mind at rest about this 
dark side of your life; after that it will be time to jest. Last night, 
between half past nine and ten, I was taking a little exercise in the 
garden; I looked up at the row of balconies; there was your light 
gleaming through the dark; you were performing your cure, led 
by the dictates of duty and reason. ‘ Ah,’ thought I, ‘ there lies our 
charming invalid, obeying the rules of the house, for the sake of an 
early return to the arms of her waiting husband.’ — And now 
w T hat do I hear? That you were seen at that very hour at the Kur- 
haus, in the cinermtografo ” (Herr Settembrini gave the wqrd the 
Italian pronunciation, with the accent on the fourth syllable) and 
afterwards in the cafe, enjoying punch and kisses, and — ” 

Frau Stohr wriggled and giggled into her serviette, nudged Joa- 
chim and the silent Dr. Blumenkohl in the ribs, winked with coy 
confidingness, and altogether gave a perfect exhibition of fatuous 
complacency. She was in the habit of leaving the light burning on 
her balcony and stealing off to seek distraction in the quarter be- 
low. Her husband, meanwhile, in Cannstadt, awaited her return. 



MOUNTING MISGIVINGS 


151 

ihe was not the only patient who practised this duplicity. 

“ And,” went on Settembrini, “ that you were enjoying those 
dsses in the company of — whom, do you think? In the company 
>f Captain Miklosich from Bucharest. They say he wears a corset 
-but that is little to the point. I conjure you, madame, to tell me! 
dave you a double? Was it your earthly part which lay there 
done on your balcony, while your spirit revelled below, with 
Captain Miklosich and his kisses? ” 

Frau Stohr wreathed and bridled as though she were being 
dckled. 

“ One asks oneself, had it not been better the other way about,” 
Settembrini went on; “ you enjoying the kisses by yourself, and 
the rest-cure with Captain Miklosich — ” 

“ Tehee! ” tittered Frau Stohr. 

“ Have the ladies and gentlemen heard the latest? ” the Italian 
went on, without pausing for breath. “ Somebody has been flown 
away with — by the devil. Or, to speak literally, by his mama — 
a very determined lady, I quite took to her. It was young Schneer- 
mann, Anton Schneermann, who sat at Mademoiselle Kleefeld’s 
table. You see, his place is empty. It will soon be filled up again, I 
am not worried about that — but Anton is off, on the wings of the 
wind, in the twinkling of an eye, rapt away before he knew where 
he was. Sixteen years old, and had been up here a year and a half, 
with six months to go. But how did it happen^ Who knows? Per- 
haps somebody dropped a little word to Madame his mother; any- 
how, she got wind of his goings-on, in Baccho et ceteris. She ap- 
pears unannounced on the scene, some three heads taller than I am, 
white-haired and exceeding wroth; fetches Herr Anton a couple 
of boxes on the ear, takes him by the collar, and puts him on the 
train. ‘ If he is going to the dogs,’ she says, ‘ he can do it just as well 
down below.’ And off they go.” 

“ Everybody within ear-shot laughed; Herr Settembrini had 
such a droll way of telling a story. Despite his contemptuous atti- 
tude toward the society of the place, he always knew everything 
that went on. He knew the name and circumstances of each pa- 
tient. He knew that such and such a person had been operated on 
for rib resection; had it on the best authority that from the autumn 
onward no one with a temperature of more than 101.3 0 would be 
admitted into the establishment. He told them how last night 
the little dog belonging to Madame Capatsoulias from Mitylene 
stepped on the button of the electric signal on his mistress’s night- 
table and occasioned much commotion and running hither and 
yon — particularly because Madame Capatsoulias had been found 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


J 5 2 

not alone, but in the society of Assessor Diistmund from Fried- 
richshagen. Even Dr. Blumenkohl had to laugh at that. Pretty 
Marusja well-nigh choked in her orange-scented handkerchief, 
and Frau Stohr yelled with laughter, holding her breast with both 
hands. 

But to the cousins Ludovico Settembrini talked of himself and 
his early life; whether on the walks they took together, or during 
the evening in the salon, or perhaps, in the dining-room itself, after 
a meal, when most of the patients had left and the three sat to- 
gether at their end of the table, while the waitresses cleared away 
and Hans Castorp smoked his Maria Mancini, which in the third 
week had regained a little of its savour. He was critical of what he 
heard, and often he felt put off; yet he listened receptively to the 
Italian’s talk, for it opened to his understanding a world utterly 
new and strange. 

Settembrini spoke of his grandfather, a Milanese lawyer, but 
even more a patriot; with something of the political agitator, and 
orator and journalist to boot. He too, like his grandson, had al- 
ways been in the opposition; though he had been able to perform 
his role upon a larger stage than had Ludovico. The latter re- 
marked with some bitterness that his own activities had been con- 
fined to heckling and castigating the follies and frailties of the 
guests at the International Sanatorium Berghof, and to protesting 
against them in the name of the free and joyous human spirit. But 
his grandfather had had his finger in the forming of governments; 
he had conspired against Austria and the Holy Alliance, which 
had dismembered his native land and then held it in the heavy bond 
of servitude; he had been a zealous member of certain secret so- 
cieties that had spread over Italy — a carbomtro , Settembrini ex- 
plained, suddenly dropping his voice, as though it might still be 
dangerous to utter the word. In fact, from his grandson’s narrative, 
the two hearers got a picture of a dark and tempest-tossed figure, 
a ringleader, political agitator, and conspirator; despite all their 
pains, they did not quite succeed in hiding a feeling of mistrust, 
even repulsion. True, the circumstances had been extraordinary. 
What they heard had happened long ago, almost a hundred years. 
It was history; and they were familiar in theory — particularly 
from ancient history — with the traditional figure of the tyrant- 
hater and liberator, such as they now heard of — though they had 
never dreamed of being brought into actual human contact with 
him, like this! Settembrini’s grandfather, so they were told, united 
with his conspiratorial zeal a profound love for his native land, 
which it was his dream to see free and united; indeed, it was out 


MOUNTING MISGIVINGS 


153 

)f this very combination, as a natural consequence, that his revo- 
utionary activities flowed — and how strange this mingling of 
*ebellion and patriotism seemed to the cousins, in whose minds an 
abiding sense of order was on an equal footing with their love of 
country! But they privately admitted, none the less, that at that 
time, and in that situation, it might have been conceivably possible 
that rebellion should go paired with civic virtue, and law-abiding- 
ness lie down with lazy indifference to the public weal. 

But Grandfather Giuseppe had been not only an Italian patriot. 
He had been fellow citizen and brother-in-arms to any people 
struggling for its liberties. Thus after the shipwreck of a certain 
plot hatched in Turin for the overthrow of the military and civil 
government, a plot in which he had been deeply involved, he had 
escaped by a hair’s breadth the clutches of Metternich’s hirelings, 
and spent the time of his exile fighting and bleeding, first in Spain 
for the cause of constitutionalism, then in Greece for the inde- 
pendence of the Hellenic peoples. It was in Greece that Settem- 
brini’s father had seen the light — which probably accounted for 
his being a humanist and lover of classical antiquity. His mother 
had been of German stock; Settembrini had married her in Switzer- 
land and taken her about with him in his further adventurous ca- 
reer. He had been allowed, after ten years of exile, to return to 
Milan, where he had practised his profession, without for a mo- 
ment ceasing to labour, with voice and pen, in verse and prose, 
for the establishment of a united republic, and to draw up subver- 
sive programmes characterized by dictatorial ardour, in which 
were promulgated in the clearest style the unification of the lib- 
erated people and the attainment of general felicity. One detail 
mentioned by the grandson made a profound impression upon 
Hans Castorp: Grandfather Giuseppe, to the day of his death, 
wore black — in token, he said, of his mourning for the state of the 
fatherland, languishing in misery and servitude. Hans Castorp, at 
this piece of information, thought of his own grandfather, as he 
had once or twice before during Settembrini’s narrative. He too, 
for as long as his grandson had known him, wore black clothes. 
But for how different a reason! Hans Lorenz Castorp had worn the 
quaint old fashion to indicate his oneness with a bygone time and 
his essential lack of sympathy with the present; worn it up to the 
end of his days, when he had returned in death to his true and 
adequate presentment — with the starched ruff. Certainly these 
were two strikingly different kinds of grandfather! Hans Castorp 
pondered, his eyes fixed in a stare, cautiously shaking his head in 
a way that might as well be taken for a sign of admiration for 



THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


J 54 

Giuseppe Settembrini as for the opposite. He honourably refrained 
from judging what he did not understand, but simply made mental 
note of the contrast and let it go at that. He could see the narrow 
head of old Hans Lorenz , as it bent musing over the pale gold rim 
of the christening basin, that symbol of the passing and the abiding, 
of continuity through change. He had his mouth open; Hans Ca- 
storp knew the words great-great-great were about to issue from 
it, the sombre syllables which always reminded him of places 
where one walked with bent head and reverent gait. And then he 
saw Giuseppe Settembrini, with the tricolour on his arm, waving 
his sabre and breathing a vow to Heaven with dark gaze flung aloft, 
as he stormed the heights of despotism at the head of a liberty- 
loving host. Well, he thought, each of them had his fine and splen- 
did side — he made the greater effort to be fair, because he knew 
himself to be partisan, on personal or partly personal grounds. 
For Grandfather Settembrini had fought to obtain political rights; 
whereas the other grandfather — or his ancestors — had originally 
had all the rights, and the scoundrels had taken them away from 
him, in the course of the centuries, by violence or pettifoggery. 
So both grandfathers had worn mourning, the one in the north 
and the one in the south, and both in the same idea; namely, to put 
a great gulf between them and the evil present. But whereas the 
one had assumed it in token of his pious reverence for the past and 
the dead, to whom he felt himself with his whole being to belong, 
the other had worn it as a sign of rebellion, in the name of progress, 
and in a spirit of hostility toward the past. Yes, these were two 
different worlds. As Herr Settembrini talked, and Hans Castorp 
stood, as it were, between them and cast his critical eye upon one 
and upon the other, they called back to his conscious mind a scene 
from his own past life. He saw himself rowing on a lake in Hol- 
stein, one late summer evening; the sun was down, the almost full 
moon rising above the bushes that bordered the lake. He rowed 
alone and slowly over the quiet waters, gazing to right and left at a 
scene fantastic as any dream. In the west it was still broad day, with 
a fixed and glassy air; but in the east he looked into a moonlit land- 
scape, wreathed in the magic of rising mists and equally convinc- 
ing to his bewildered sense. The strange combination lasted some 
brief quarter-hour before the balance finally settled in favour of 
night and the moon; all that time Hans Castorp’s dazzled eyes went 
shifting in lively amazement from one scene to the other: from 
day to night and back again to day. The picture returned to him 
now. 

At the same time the thought crossed his mind that Lawyer 


MOUNTING MISGIVINGS 


l 55 

Settembrini could scarcely have been much of a jurist, consider- 
ing his other occupations and the extended sphere of his activities. 
His grandson asseverated, however, and Hans Castorp found it 
credible, that the grandfather had been from early childhood 
down to the last day of his life inspired by the fundamental prin- 
ciple of justice. Our hero, all heavy-headed as he was and organ- 
ically preoccupied by the six-course Berghof meal he had just 
eaten, made an effort to understand what Settembrini meant when 
he called this principle “ the source and fount of liberty and prog- 
ress.” Progress, up to now, had had to do, in Hans Castorp’s mind, 
with such things as the nineteenth-century development of cranes 
and lifting-tackle. He was accordingly gratified to learn that 
Grandfather Settembrini had not underestimated the importance 
of such matters. Of course, his own grandfather hadn’t either. The 
Italian paid a tribute to the native land of his two listeners, for the 
inventions of gunpowder — whereby the armour of feudalism had 
been thrown on the scrap-heap — and the printing-press, which 
had made possible the democratic propagation of ideas, and the 
propagation of democratic ideas, which were one and the same. 
For these good gifts he praised Germany; praised her for her past, 
but awarded his own country the palm^ because she had been the 
first to unfurl the banner of freedom, culture, and enlightenment, 
at a time when all other lands were wrapped in the darkness of 
superstition and slavery. Yet in paying due honour, as upon their 
first meeting, at the bench by the watercourse, to commerce and 
technology (Hans Castorp’s own field), Settembrini apparently 
did so not for the sake of these forces themselves, but purely with 
reference to their significance for the ethical development of man- 
kind. For such a significance, he declared, he joyfully ascribed to 
them. Technical progress, he said, gradually subjugated nature, by 
developing roads and telegraphs, minimizing climatic differences; 
and bv the means of communication which it created proved it- 
self the most reliable agent in the task of drawing together the 
peoples of the earth, of making them acquainted with each other, 
of building bridges to compromise, of destroying prejudice; of, 
finally, bringing about the universal brotherhood of man. Hu- 
manity had sprung from the depths of fear, darkness, and hatred; 
but it was emerging, it was moving onward and upward, toward a 
goal of fellow-feeling and enlightenment, of goodness and joy- 
ousness; and upon this path, he said, the industrial arts were the 
vehicle conducive to the greatest progress. But all this made a 
confused impression on Hans Castorp. Herr Settembrini seeme 
to bring together in a single breath categories which in the young 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


156 

man’s mind had heretofore been as the poles asunder — for ex- 
ample, technology and morals! Positively, he made the statement 
that Christ had been the first to proclaim the principle of equality 
and union, that the printing-press had propagated the doctrine, 
and that finally the French Revolution had elevated it into a law! 
All which our poor young friend found very muddling, he scarce 
knew why — though the feeling was definite enough in all con- 
science, and though Herr Settembrini had couched his thought in 
the clearest and roundest of periods. Once, the Italian went on, 
once only in his life, and that in his early manhood, had his grand- 
father known what it was to feel profound joy. That was at the 
time of the Paris July Revolution. He had gone about proclaiming 
to all and sundry that some day men would place those three days 
alongside the six days of creation, and reverence them alike. Hans 
Castorp felt utterly dumbfounded — involuntarily he slapped the 
table with his hand. To compare those three summer days of the 
year 1830 when the Parisians had taken unto themselves a new 
constitution, to the six in which God had divided the land from 
the water and created the lights in the firmament of heaven, as 
well as flowers, trees, birds, and fishes, and all other living things — 
that seemed to him to be going too far. He talked it over later with 
Cousin Joachim, and gave clear expression to his opinion that it 
really was pretty thick, that he, Hans Castorp, for his part, found 
it positively offensive. 

But still open-minded — at least in the sense that he enjoyed the 
experiment he was making — he restrained the objections which his 
sense of fitness would have raised against the Settembrinian scheme 
of things. Restrained them on the theory that what seemed sedi- 
tion to him might to another seem dauntless courage*, and what he 
called bad taste might have been, in that far-off time and circum- 
stance, but a display of the noble excesses of a high-hearted nature 
— for instance, when Grandfather Settembrini called the barri- 
cades “ the people’s throne,” and talked about “ dedicating the 
burgher’s pike on the altar of humanity.” 

Hans Castorp knew — without putting it into so many words — 
why he lent an ear to Herr Settembrini. Partly it was out of a 
sense of duty; though also out of that holiday mood of taking 
everything as it came, rejecting nothing, in the knowledge that in 
another day or so he would spread his wings and fly back to the 
wonted order of things. Yes, he knew it was largely the prompt- 
ings of conscience to which he hearkened; to be precise, the 
promptings of a conscience not altogether easy — as he sat listen- 
ing to the Italian, one leg crossed over the other, drawing at his 



MOUNTING MISGIVINGS I 57 

Maria Mancini; or when the three of them climbed the hill from 
the English quarter. 

Two principles, according to the Settembrinian cosmogony, 
w r ere in perpetual conflict for possession of the world: force and 
justice, tyranny and freedom, superstition and knowledge; the law 
of permanence and the law of change, of ceaseless fermentation is- 
suing in progress. One might call the first the Asiatic, the second 
the European principle; for Europe was the theatre of rebellion, 
the sphere of intellectual discrimination and transforming activity, 
whereas the East embodied the conception of quiesence and immo- 
bility. There was no doubt as to which of the two would finally 
triumph: it would be the power of enlightenment, the power that 
made for rational advance and development. For human progress 
snatched up ever more peoples with it on its brilliant course; it 
conquered more and more territory in Europe itself and was al- 
ready pressing Asia-wards. Much still remained to be done, sublime 
exertions were still demanded from those spirits who had received 
the light. Then only the day would come when thrones would 
crash and outworn religions crumble, in those remaining countries 
of Europe which had not already enjoyed the blessings of eight- 
eenth-century enlightenment, nor yet of an upheaval like 1789. 
But the day would come, Settembrini said, with his suave smile; it 
would come, he repeated, if not on the wings of doves, then on 
the pinions of eagles; and dawn would break over Europe, the 
dawn of universal brotherhood, in the name of justice, science, 
and human reason. It would bring in its train a new Holy Alliance, 
the alliance of the democratic peoples of Europe, in opposition to 
that other Holy Alliance, the thrice-infamous organ of princes and 
cabinets, which Grandfather Giuseppe had personally regarded 
as his deadly foe; in a word, it would bring in its train the republic 
of the world. But before that could happen, the Asiatic principle 
must be met and crushed in its very stronghold and vital centre; 
that was to say, in Vienna. Austria must be crushed, crushed and 
dismembered, first to take vengeance for the past, and second to 
lead in the new law of justice with truth on earth. 

Hans Castorp did not care for this last drift in Herr Settem- 
brini’s sonorous flow of words. He mistrusted it; it sounded too 
much like a personal or national animus. As for Joachim Ziemssen, 
whenever the Italian fell into this vein, he scowled and turned 
away his head, or sought to create a diversion by saying it was 
time for the rest-cure. Neither did Hans Castorp feel obliged to 
listen when the conversation took these devious paths; they clearly 
fell outside the limits within which his conscience prompted him 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


158 

to profit by Herr Settembrini’s words. Yet conscience still urged 
him to continue in the effort; so clearly that often, as opportunity 
arose, he would even invite the Italian to discourse on the subject 
of his ideas. 

Those ideas, ideals, and efforts of the aspiring will were, Settem- 
brini said, traditional in his family. He inherited them. Grand- 
father, son, and grandson, each in his turn, had dedicated to them 
their entire lives and all their spiritual energy. The father in his 
own way had done so no less than Grandfather Giuseppe. True, 
he had not been a political agitator or active combatant in the 
cause of freedom, but a quiet and sensitive scholar, a humanist 
sitting at his writing-desk. But what, after all, was humanism if 
not love of human kind, and by that token also political activity, 
rebellion against all that tended to defile or degrade our concep- 
tion of humanity? He had been accused of exaggerating the im- 
portance of form. But he who cherished beauty of form did so 
because it enhanced human dignity; whereas the Middle Ages, in 
striking contrast, had been sunk not only in superstitious hostility 
to the human spirit, but also in a shameful formlessness. From the 
very beginning he had defended the right of the human being to 
his earthly interests, to liberty of thought and joy in life, and in- 
sisted that we could safely leave heaven to take care of itself. Hu- 
manism — had not Prometheus been the earliest humanist, and was 
he not identical with the Satan hymned by Carducci? Ah, if the 
cousins had only heard that arch-enemy of the Church, at Bologna, 
pouring the vials of his sarcasm upon the Christian sentimentalism 
of the Romanticismo! Upon Manzoni’s Inni Sacri! Upon the 
shadows-and-moonlight poetry of the romantic movement, which 
he had compared to “ Luna, Heaven’s pallid nun ”! Per Bacco , that 
was a joy to listen to! And they ought to have heard Carducci 
interpret Dante, celebrating him as the citizen of a great city- 
state, who had spoken out against asceticism and the negation of 
life, and on the side of the world-transforming and reforming 
deed! It was not the sickly and mystagogic figure of Beatrice 
which the poet had celebrated under the name of “ donna gentile 
e pietosa rather it had been his wife, who represented in the 
poem the principle of worldly knowledge and practical work- 
aday life. 

Thus Hans Castorp came to hear something about Dante, and 
certainly from the lips of authority. He was not too much in- 
clined to believe implicitly all Settembrini said; he considered him 
too much of a windbag for that. Still it was an interesting con- 
ception, this of Dante as the wide-awake citizen of a great metrop- 



MOUNTING MISGIVINGS 


159 

olis. And now Settembrini went on to speak of himself, and to 
explain how the tendencies of his immediate forbears, the political 
from his grandfather, the humanistic from his father, had united 
in his own person to produce the writer and independent man of 
letters. For literature was after all nothing else than the combina- 
tion of humanism and politics; a conjunction the more immediate 
in that humanism itself was politics and politics humanism. Hans 
Castorp did his best at this point to listen and comprehend, in the 
hope of finally learning wherein had consisted the crass ignorance 
of Magnus the brewer, and finding out what else literature actually 
was, above and beyond “ beautiful characters.” Settembrini asked 
his audience whether they had ever heard of Brunetto, Brunetto 
Latini, a Florentine notary, who about the year 1250 had written 
a book on the subject of the virtues and the vices. He it was who 
had sharpened the wits of the Florentines, taught them the art of 
language, and how to guide their state according to the rules of 
politics. 

“ There you have it, gentlemen, there you have it! ” Settem- 
brini cried with ardour, and enlarged upon the cult of the “ word,” 
the art of eloquence, which he called the triumph of the human 
genius. For the word was the glory of mankind, it alone imparted 
dignity to life. Not only was humanism bound up with the word, 
and with literature, but so also was humanity itself, man’s ancient 
dignity and manly self-respect (“ You heard, didn’t you,” Hans 
Castorp said later to his cousin, “ you heard him say that literature 
is a question of beautiful words? I spotted it directly”), from 
which it followed that politics too is bound up with the word. 
Or, rather, it followed directly from the union, the unity that sub- 
sisted between humanity and literature, for the beautiful word 
begets the beautiful deed. 

“ Two hundred years ago,” Settembrini said, “ you had a poet 
in your country, a magnificent old chatterbox who set great store 
by good handwriting because he thought it must induce a good 
style. He should have gone a step further and said that a good style 
would lead to good deeds,” Settembrini added. For writing well 
was almost the same as thinking well, and thinking well was the 
next thing to acting well. All moral discipline, all moral perfection 
derived from the soul of literature, from the soul of human dig- 
nity, which was the moving spirit of both humanity and politics. 
Yes, they were all one, one and the same force, one and the same 
idea, and all of them could be comprehended in one single word. 
This word> Ah, it was already familiar to their ears; yet he would 
wager the cousins had never before rightly grasped its meaning 


i6o 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


and its majesty: the word was — civilization! And as Settembrini 
brought it out, he flung his small, yellow-skinned right hand in the 
air, as though proposing a toast. 

Well, all that young Hans Castorp found worth listening to; not 
precisely overwhelming, of a value largely experimental, but still 
worth listening to. He said as much to Joachim Ziemssen later; 
but Joachim had his thermometer in his mouth and could not reply 
to his cousin; nor had he afterwards leisure, when, on taking it out, 
he read the figure and entered it in his note-book. But Hans Ca- 
storp good-naturedly took cognizance of Settembrini’s point of 
view and tested by it his own inner experiences; from which self- 
examination it principally appeared that the waking man has an 
advantage over the sleeping and dreaming one. For whereas the 
sleeping Hans Castorp had more than once upbraided the organ- 
grinder to his face and done his utmost to drive him away because 
he felt him a disturbing influence, the waking one lent him an at- 
tentive ear and made an honest effort to minimize the opposition 
which his mentor’s ideas and conceptions persistently aroused in 
him. For it cannot be denied that there was such opposition; some 
of it such as he must always have felt from the very beginning, the 
rest arising from the particular situation and his partly vicarious, 
partly secret and personal experiences among “ those up here.” 

What a creature is man, how idly his conscience betrays him! 
How easy it is for him to think he hears, even in the voice of duty, 
a licence to passion! Hans Castorp listened to Herr Settembrini 
out of a sense of duty and fairness, in the idea of hearing both sides; 
with the best of intentions he tested the latter’s views on the sub- 
ject of the republic, reason and the bello stile. He was entirely 
receptive. And all the while he was finding it more and more per- 
missible to give his thoughts and dreams free rein in another and 
quite opposite direction. Indeed, to give expression to all that we 
suspect or divine, we think it not unlikely that Hans Castorp 
hearkened to Herr Settembrini’s discourse in order to get from his 
own conscience an indulgence which otherwise might not have 
been forthcoming. But what — or who — was it that drew down 
the other side of the scales, when weighed over against patriotism, 
belles-lettres, and the dignity of man? It was — Clavdia Chauchat, 
“ Kirghiz ’’-eyed, “ relaxed,” and tainted within; when he thought 
of her (though thinking is far too tame a word to characterize the 
impulse that turned all his being in her direction), it was as though 
he were sitting again in his boat on the lake in Holstein, looking 
with dazzled eyes from the glassy daylight of the western shore to 
the mist and moonbeams that wrapped the eastern heavens. 



THE THERMOMETER 


161 


The Thermometer 

Hans Castorp’s week here ran from Tuesday to Tuesday, for on 
a Tuesday he had arrived. Two or three days before, he had gone 
down to the office and paid his second weekly bill, a modest ac- 
count of a round one hundred and sixty francs, modest and cheap 
enough, even without taking into consideration the nature of some 
of the advantages of a stay up here — advantages priceless in them- 
selves, though for that very reason they could not be included in 
the bill — and even without counting extras like the fortnightly 
concert and Dr. Krokowski’s lectures, which might conceivably 
have been included. The sum of one hundred and sixty francs 
represented simply and solely the actual hospitality extended by 
the Berghof to Hans Castorp: his comfortable lodgment and his 
five stupendous meals. 

“ It isn’t much, it is rather cheap than otherwise,” remarked the 
guest to the old inhabitant. “ You cannot complain of being over- 
charged up here. You need a round six hundred and fifty francs 
a month for board and lodging, treatment included. Let us assume 
that you spend another thirty francs for tips, if you are decent and 
like to have friendly faces about you. That makes six hundred and 
eighty. Good. Of course I know there are fixed fees and other sorts 
of small expenses: toilet articles, tobacco, drives, and excursions, 
now and then a bill for shoes or clothing. Very good. But all that 
won’t bring it up to a thousand francs, say what you like. Not 
eight hundred even. That isn’t ten thousand francs a year. Cer- 
tainly not more. That is what it costs you.” 

“ Mental arithmetic very fair,” Joachim said. “ I never knew you 
were such a shot at doing sums in your head. And how broad- 
minded of you to calculate it by the year like that! You’ve learned 
something since you’ve been up here. But your figure is too high. 
I don’t smoke, and I certainly don’t expect to buy any suits while 
I am here, thank you.” 

“ Then it would be lower still,” Hans Castorp answered, rather 
confused. Why, indeed, he should have included tobacco and a 
new wardrobe in his calculation of Joachim’s expenses is a puzzle. 
But for the rest, his brilliant display of arithmetic had simply been 
so much dust thrown in his cousin’s eyes; for here, as elsewhere, 
his mental processes were rather slow than fast, and the truth is 
that a previous calculation with pencil and paper underlay his pres- 
ent facility. One night on his balcony (for he even took the eve- 
ning cure out of doors now, like the rest) a sudden thought had 
struck him and he had got out of his comfortable chair to fetch 


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162 

pencil and paper. As the result of some simple figuring, he con- 
cluded that his cousin — or, speaking generally, a patient at the 
Berghof — would need twelve thousand francs a year to cover the 
sum total of his expenses. Thus he amused himself by establishing 
the fact that he, Hans Castorp, could amply afford to live up here, 
if he chose, being a man of eighteen or nineteen thousand francs 
yearly income. 

He had, as we have said, paid his second weekly bill three days 
before, and accordingly found himself in the middle of the third 
and last week of his appointed stay. The coming Sunday, as he re- 
marked to himself and to his cousin, would see the performance 
of another of the fortnightly concerts, and the Monday another 
lecture by Dr. Krokowski; then, on Tuesday or Wednesday, he 
would be off, and Joachim would be left up here alone — poor 
Joachim, for whom Rhadamanthus would prescribe God knew 
how many more months! Already there came a shade over his 
gentle black eyes whenever Hans Castorp’s swiftly approaching 
departure was spoken of. Where, in Heaven’s name, had the holi- 
day gone? It had rushed past, it had flown — and left one wonder- 
ing how. For, after all, three weeks, twenty-one days, is a con- 
siderable stretch of time, too long, at least, for one to see the end 
at the beginning. And now, on a sudden, there remained of it no 
more than a miserable three or four days, nothing worth mention- 
ing. They would, it was true, comprehend the lecture and the con- 
cert, those two recurrent variations in the weekly programme, 
and, thus weighted, might move a little more slowly. But on the 
other hand, they would be taken up with packing and leave-tak- 
ing. Three weeks up here was as good as nothing at all; they had 
all told him so in the beginning. The smallest unit of time was the 
month, Settembrini had said; and as Hans Castorp’s stay was less 
than that, it amounted to nothing; it was a “ week-end visit,” as 
Hofrat Behrens put it. Had the swift flight of time up here any- 
thing to do with the uniformly accelerated rate of organic com- 
bustion? At any rate, here was a consoling thought for Joachim 
during his five remaining months — in case he really got off with 
five. But Hans Castorp felt that during these three weeks they 
ought to have paid more attention, to have kept better watch, as 
Joachim did in his daily measurings, during which the seven min- 
utes seemed like a quite considerable stretch of time. Hans Castorp 
grieved for his cousin, reading in his eyes his pain at the approach- 
ing parting. He felt the strongest possible sympathy at the thought 
of the poor chap’s having to stop on up here when he himself was 
down in the flat-land, helping bring the nations together through 


THE THERMOMETER 


163 

the development of commerce and communications. His own re- 
gret was at times so lively as to bum in his breast and cause him 
to doubt whether he would have the heart, when the time came, 
to leave Joachim alone; and this vicarious suffering was probably 
the reason why he himself referred less and less to his impending 
departure. It was Joachim who came back to it; for Hans Castorp, 
moved by native tact and delicacy, seemed to wish to forget it up 
to the last moment. 

“ At least,” Joachim said more than once in these days, “ let us 
hope it has done you good to be up here, and that you will feel 
the benefit when you are at home again.” 

“ I’ll remember you to everybody,” Hans Castorp responded, 
“ and say you are coming back in five months at the outside. Done 
me good? If it has done me good to be up here? I should like to 
think so; some improvement must surely have taken place, even 
in this short time. I have received a great many new impressions, 
new in every sense of the word, very stimulating, but a good deal 
of strain too, physically and mentally. I have not at all the feel- 
ing of having really got acclimatized — which would certainly be 
the first necessary step toward improvement. Maria, thank good- 
ness, is her old self; for several days now, I have been able to get 
the aroma. But my handkerchief still becomes red from time to 
time when I use it — and this damned heat in my face, and these 
idiotic palpitations, I shall apparently have them up to the last 
minute. No, it seems I can’t talk about being acclimatized — how 
could I, either, in so short a time? It would take longer than this to 
overcome the change of atmosphere and adjust oneself perfectly 
to the unusual conditions, so that a real recovery could begin and I 
should commence to put on flesh. It is too bad. It was certainly a 
mistake not to have given myself more time — for of course I 
could have had it. I have the feeling that once I am at home again 
I shall need to sleep three weeks on end to get rested from the rest 
I’ve had! That shows you how tired I sometimes feel. And now, 
to cap the climax, I get this catarrh — ” 

It looked, in fact, as though Hans Castorp would return home 
in possession of a first-class cold. He had caught it, probably, in 
the rest-cure, and, again probably, in the evening rest-cure — 
which for almost a week now he had been taking in the balcony, 
despite the long spell of cold, wet weather. He was aware that 
weather of this kind was not recognized as bad; such a conception 
hardly existed up here, where the most inclement conceivable 
went unheeded and had no terrors for anyone. With the easy 
adaptability of youth, which suits itself to any environment, Hans 


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164 

Castorp had begun to imitate this indifference. It might rain in 
bucketfuls, but the air was not supposed to be the more damp for 
that — nor was it, in all probability, for the dry heat in the face 
persisted, as though after drinking wine, or sitting in an over- 
heated room. And however cold it got, the radiators were never 
heated unless it snowed, so it was of no avail to take refuge in one’s 
chamber, since it was quite as comfortable on the balcony, when 
one lay in one’s excellent chair, wrapped in a paletot and two good 
camel’s-hair rugs put on according to the ritual. As comfortable? 
It was incomparably more so. It was, in Hans Castorp ’s reasoned 
judgment, a state of life which more appealed to him than any in 
all his previous experience, so far as he could remember. He did not 
propose to be shaken in this view for any carbonaro or quill-driver 
in existence, no matter how many malicious and equivocal jokes 
he made on the subject of the “ horizontal.” Especially he liked it 
in the evening, when with his little lamp on the stand beside him 
and his long-lost and now restored Maria alight between his lips 
he enjoyed the ineffable excellencies of his reclining-chair. True, 
his nose felt frozen, and the hands that held his book — he was still 
reading Ocean Steamships — were red and cramped from the cold. 
He looked through the arch of his loggia over the darkening val- 
ley, jewelled with clustered or scattering lights, and listened to the 
music that drifted up nearly every evening for almost an hour. 
There was a concert below, and he could hear, pleasantly subdued 
by the distance, familiar operatic selections, snatches from Carmen , 
H Trovatore, Freischutz; or well-built, facile waltzes, marches so 
spirited that he could not help keeping time with his head, and ^ay 
mazurkas. Mazurka? No, Marusja was her name, Marusja of the 
little ruby. And in the next loggia, behind the thick wall of milky 
glass, lay Joachim, with whom Hans Castorp exchanged a word 
now and then, low-toned, out of consideration for the other hori- 
zontallers. Joachim was as well off in his loggia as Hans Castorp 
in his, though, being entirely unmusical, he could not take the 
same pleasure in the concerts. Too bad! He was probably study- 
ing his Russian primer instead. But Hans Castorp let Ocean Steam- 
ships fall on the coverlet and gave himself up to the music; he con- 
templated with such inward gratification the translucent depth of 
a muscial invention full of individuality and charm that he thought 
with nothing but hostility of Settembrini and the irritating things 
he had said about music — that it was politically suspect was the 
worst, and little better than the remark of Grandfather Giuseppe 
about the July Revolution and the six days of creation. 

Joachim, though he could not partake of Hans Castorp’s pleas- 



THE THERMOMETER 


165 

ure in the music, nor the pungent gratification purveyed by Maria, 
lay as snugly ensconced as his cousin. The day was at an end. Foi 
the time everything was at an end; there would be no more emo- 
tional alarums, no more strain on the heart-muscles. But equally 
there was the assurance that to-morrow it would begin all over 
again, all the favouring probabilities afforded by propinquity and 
the household regimen. And this pleasing combination of snug- 
ness and confident hope, together with the music and the restored 
charms of Maria, made the evening cure a state almost amounting 
to beatification for young Hans Castorp. 

All which had not prevented the guest and novice from catch- 
ing a magnificent cold, either in the evening rest-cure or else- 
where. He felt the onset of catarrh, with oppression in the frontal 
sinus, and inflamed uvula; he could not breathe easily through the 
passage provided by nature; the air struck cold and painfully as it 
struggled through, and caused constant coughing. His voice took 
on overnight the tonal quality of a hollow bass the worse for 
strong drink. According to him, he had not closed an eye, his 
parched throat making him start up every five minutes from his 
pillow. 

“ Very vexatious,” Joachim said, “ and most unfortunate. Colds, 
you know, are not the thing at all, up here; they are not regus. 
The authorities don’t admit their existence; the official attitude 
is that the dryness of the air entirely prevents them. If you were a 
patient, you would certainly fall foul of Behrens, if you went to 
him and said you had a cold. But it is a little different with a guest, 
— you have a right to have a cold if you want to. It would be 
good if we could check the catarrh. There are things to do, down 
below, but here — I doubt if anyone would take enough interest 
in it. It is not advisable to fall ill up here; you aren’t taken any 
notice of. It’s an old story — but you are coming to hear it at the 
end. When I was new up here, there was a lady who complained 
of her ear for a whole week and told everybody how she suffered. 
Behrens finally looked at it. ‘ Make yourself quite easy, rnadame,’ 
he said; ‘ it is not tubercular.’ That was an end of the matter! 
Well, we must see what can be done. I will speak to the bathing- 
master early to-morrow morning, when he comes to my room. 
Then it will go through the regular channels, and perhaps some- 
thing will come of it.” 

Thus Joachim; and the regular channels proved reliable. On 
Friday, after Hans Castorp returned from the morning round, 
there was a knock at his door, and he was vouchsafed the pleasure 
of personal acquaintance with Fraulein von Mylendonk — Frau 


1 66 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


Director, as she was called. Up to now he had seen this over-occu- 
pied person only from a distance, crossing the corridor from one 
patient’s room to another, or when she had popped up for a mo- 
ment in the dining-room and he had been aware of her raucous 
voice. But now he himself was the object of her visit. His catarrh 
had fetched her. She knocked a short, bony knock, entered almost 
before he had said come in, and then, upon the threshold, bent 
round to make sure of the number of the room. 

“ Thirty-four,” she croaked briskly. “ Right. Well, young ’un, 
on me dit, que vous avez pris froid. Wy , kaschetsja , prostudilisj, 
Lei e raffreddato, I hear you have caught a cold. What language 
do you speak? Oh, I see, you are young Ziemssen’s guest. I am due 
in the operating-room. Somebody there to be chloroformed, and 
he has just been eating bean salad. I have to have my eyes every- 
where. Well, young un, so you have a cold? ” 

Hans Castorp was taken aback by this mode of address, in the 
mouth of a dame of ancient lineage. In her rapid speech she slurred 
over her words, all the time restlessly moving her head about with 
a circular action, the nose sniffingly in the air — the motion of a 
caged beast of prey. Her freckled right hand, loosely closed with 
the thumb uppermost, she held in front of her and waved it to and 
fro on the wrist, as though to say: “ Come, make haste, don’t at- 
tend to what I say, but say what you have to and let me be off! ” 
She was in the forties, of stunted growth, without form or comeli- 
ness, clad in a belted pinaforish garment of clinical white, with a 
garnet cross on her breast. Sparse, reddish hair showed beneath 
the white coif of her profession; her eyes were a waterly blue, with 
inflamed lids, and one of them, as a finishing touch, had a stye in a 
well-advanced stage of development in the corner. Their glance 
was unsteady and flickering. Her nose was turned up, her mouth 
like a frog’s, and furnished to boot with a wry and protruding 
lower lip, which she used like a shovel to get her words out. Hans 
Castorp looked at her, and all the modest and confiding friendli- 
ness native to him spoke in his eyes. 

“ What sort of cold is it, eh 3 ” repeated the Directress. She 
seemed to try to concentrate her gaze and make it penetrate; but it 
slipped aside. “ We don’t care for such colds. Are you subject to 
them? Your cousin has been too, hasn’t he? How old are you? 
Twenty -four? Yes, it’s the age. And so you come up here and get 
a cold? There ought not to be any talk about colds up here; that 
sort of twaddle belongs down below.” It was fearsome to see how 
she shovelled out this word with her lower lip. “ You have a beau- 
tiful bronchial catarrh, that is plain — ” again she made that curious 


THE THERMOMETER 


167 

effort to pierce him with her gaze, and again she could not hold 
it steady. “ But catarrhs are not caused by cold; they come from 
an infection, which one takes from being in a receptive state. So 
the question is, are we dealing with a harmless infection or with 
something more serious? Everything else is twaddle. It is possible 
that your receptivity inclines to the harmless kind,” she went on, 
and looked at him with her over-ripe stye, he knew not how. 
“ Here, I will give you a simple antiseptic — it may do you good,” 
and she took a small packet out of the leather bag that hung from 
her girdle. It was formamint. “ But you look flushed — as though 
you had fever.” She never stopped trying to fix him with her 
gaze, and always the eyes glided off to one side. “ Have you 
measured? ” 

He answered in the negative. 

“ Why not? ” she asked, and her protruding lower lip hung in 
the air after she spoke. 

He made no answer. The poor youth was still young; he had 
never got over his schoolboy shyness. He sat, so to speak, on his 
bench, did not know the answer and took refuge in dumbness. 

“ Perhaps you never do take your temperature? ” 

“ Oh, yes, Frau Director, when I have fever.” 

“ My dear child, one takes it in the first instance to see whether 
one has fever. According to you, you have none now? ” 

“ I can’t tell, Frau Director. I cannot really tell the difference. 
Ever since I came up here, I have been a little hot and shivery.” 

“ Aha! And where is your thermometer? ” 

“ I haven’t one with me, Frau Director. Why should I, I am 
not ill; I am only up here on a visit.” 

“ Rubbish! Did you send for me because you weren’t ilP ” 

“ No,” he laughed politely, “ it was because I caught a 
little — ” 

“ Cold. We’ve often seen such colds. Here, young ’un,” she said, 
and rummaged again in her bag. She brought out two longish 
leather cases, one red and one black, and put them on the 
table. “ This one is three francs fifty, the other five. The five- 
franc one is better, of course. It will last you a lifetime if you take 
care of it.” 

Smiling he took up the red case and opened it. The glass instru- 
ment lay like a jewel within, fitted neatly into its red velvet groove. 
The degrees were marked by red strokes, the tenths by black ones; 
the figures were in red and the tapering end was full of glittering 
quicksilver. The column stood below blood-heat. 

Hans Castorp knew what was due to himself and his upbring- 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


1 68 

ing. “ I will take this one,” he said, not even looking at the other. 
“ The one at five francs. May I — ” 

“ Then that’s settled,” croaked the Directress. “ I see you don’t 
niggle over important purchases. No hurry, it will come on the 
bill. Give him to me. We’ll drive him right down — ” She took 
the thermometer out of his hand and plunged it several times 
through the air, until the mercury stood below 95 °. He’ll soon 
climb up again! ” she said. “ Here is your new acquisition. You 
know how we do it up here? Straight under the tongue, seven 
minutes, four times a day, and shut the lips well over it. Well, 
young ’un, I must get on. Good luck! ” And she was out at the 
door. 

Hans Castorp bowed her out, then stood by the table, staring 
from the door through which she had disappeared to the instru- 
ment she had left behind. “ So that,” he thought, “ was Directress 
von Mylendonk. Settembrini doesn’t care for her, and certainly she 
has her unpleasant side. The stye isn’t pretty — but of course she 
does not have it all the time. But why does she call me ‘ young ’un,’ 
like that? Rather rude and familiar, seems to me. So she has sold 
me a thermometer — I suppose she always has one or two in her 
pocket. They are to be had everywhere here, Joachim said, even 
m shops where you would least expect it. But I didn’t need to take 
the trouble to buy it; it just fell into my lap.” He took the article 
out of its case, looked at it, and walked restlessly up and down the 
room. His heart beat strong and rapidly. He looked toward the 
open balcony door, and considered seeking counsel of Joachim, 
but thought better of it and paused again by the table. He cleared 
his throat by way of testing his voice; then he coughed. 

“ Yes,” he said. “ I must see if I have the fever that goes with 
the cold.” Quickly he put the thermometer in his mouth, the mer- 
cury beneath the tongue, so that the instrument stuck slantingly 
upwards from his lips. He closed them firmly, that no air might 
get in. Then he looked at his wrist-watch. It was six minutes after 
the half-hour. And he began to wait for the seven minutes to pass. 

“ Not a second too long,” he thought, “ and not one too short. 
They can depend on me, in both directions. They needn’t give me 
a ‘ silent sister,’ like that Ottilie Kneifer Settembrini told us of.” 
He walked about, pressing down the thermometer with his tongue, 

The time crept on; the term seemed unending. When he looked 
at his watch, two and a half minutes had passed — and he had feared 
the seven minutes were already more than up. He did a thousand 
things: picked up objects about the room and set them down 
again, walked out on the balcony — taking care that his cousin 


THE THERMOMETER 


169 

should not notice his presence — and looked at the landscape of 
this high valley, now so familiar to him in all its phases; with its 
horns, its crests and walls, with the projecting wing of the “ Brem- 
buhl,” the ridge of which sloped steeply down to the valley, its 
flanks covered with rugged undergrowth, with its formations on 
the right side of the valley, whose names were no less familiar than 
the others, and the Alteinwand, which from this point appeared to 
close in the valley on the south. He looked down on the garden 
beds and paths, the grotto and the silver fir; he listened to the mur- 
mur that rose from the rest-hall; and he returned to his room, 
settling the thermometer under his tongue. Then, with a motion 
of the arm which drew away the sleeve from his wrist, he brought 
the forearm before his eyes and found that by dint of pushing and 
shoving, pulling and hauling, he had managed to get rid of full 
six minutes. The last one he spent standing in the middle of the 
room — but then, unfortunately, he let his thoughts wander and 
fell into a “ doze,” so that the sixty seconds flew by on the wings 
of the wind; and, when he looked again, the eighth minute was 
already past its first quarter. “ It doesn’t really matter, so far as the 
result is concerned,” he thought, and tearing the instrument out 
of his mouth, he stared at it in confusion. 

He was not immediately the wiser. The gleam of the quick- 
silver fell with the reflection of the glass case where the light struck 
it, and he could not tell whether the mercury had ascended the 
whole length of the column, or whether it was not there at all. 
He brought the instrument close to his eyes, turned it hither and 
thither -all to no purpose. But at last a lucky turn gave him a 
clearer view; he hastily arrested his hand and brought his intelli- 
gence to bear. Mercunus, in fact, had climbed up again, just as the 
Frau Directress said. The column was perceptibly lengthened; it 
stood several of the black strokes above normal. Hans Castorp had 
99.6°. 

Ninety-nine and six tenths degrees in broad daylight, between 
ten and half past in the morning. That was too much, it was “ tem- 
perature.” It was fever consequent on an infection, for which his 
system had been eager. The question was now, what kind of in- 
fection? 99.6° - why, Joachim had no more, nor anyone else up 
here, except the moribund and bedridden. Not Fraulein Kleefeld 
with her pneumothorax, nor — nor Madame Chauchat. Naturally, 
in his case it was not the same kind, certainly not; he had what 
would have been called at home a feverish cold. But the distinction 
was not such a simple one to make. Hans Castorp doubted whether 
the fever had only come on when the cold did, and he regretted 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


170 

not having consulted a thermometer at the outset, when the Hofrat 
suggested it. He could see now that this had been very reasonable 
advice; Settembrini had been wrong to sneer at it as he had — Set- 
tembrini, with his republic and his bello stile. Hans Castorp loathed 
and contemned the republic and the bello stile as he stood there 
consulting his thermometer; he kept on losing the mark and turn- 
ing the instrument this way and that to find it again. Yes, it regis- 
tered 99.6° — and this in the early part of the day! 

He was thoroughly upset. He walked the length of the room 
twice or thrice, the thermometer held horizontally in his hand, 
so as not to jiggle it and make it read differently. Then he carefully 
deposited it on the wash-hand-stand, and went with his overcoat 
and rugs into the balcony. Sitting down, he threw the covers about 
him, with practised hand, first from one side, then from the other, 
and lay still, waiting until it should be time for Joachim to fetch 
him for second breakfast. Now and then he smiled — it was pre- 
cisely as though he smiled at somebody. And now and then his 
breast heaved as he caught his breath and was seized with his 
bronchial cough. 

Joachim found him still lying when he entered at eleven o’clock 
at sound of the gong for second breakfast. 

“ Well 5 ” he asked in surprise, coming up to his cousin’s chair. 

Hans Castorp sat awhile without answering, looking in front 
of him. Then he said: “ Well, the latest is that I have some fever.” 

“ What do you mean? ” Joachim asked. “ Do you feel fever- 
ish 5 ” 

Again Hans Castorp let him wait a little for the answer, then 
delivered himself airily as follows: “ Feverish, my dear fellow, I 
have felt for a long time — all the time I have been up here, 
in fact. But at the moment it is not a matter of subjective emo- 
tion, but of fact. I have taken my temperature.” 

“ You’ve taken your temperature? What with 5 ” Joachim cried, 
startled. 

“ With a thermometer, naturally,” answered Hans Castorp, not 
without a caustic tinge to his voice. “ Frau Director sold me one. 
Why she should call me young ’un I can’t imagine. It is distinctly 
not comrne il faut. But she lost no time in selling me an excellent 
thermometer; if you would like to convince yourself, you can; 
it is there on the wash-hand-stand. It is only slight fever.” 

Joachim turned on his heel and went into the bedroom. When 
he came back, he said hesitatingly: “ Yes, it is 99 .5 Vi °.” 

“ Then it has gone down a little,” his cousin responded hastily. 
“ It was six.” 



THE THERMOMETER 


1 7 1 

“ But you can’t call that slight fever,” Joachim said. “ Certainly 
not for the forenoon. This is a pretty how-d’ye-do! ” And he stood 
by his cousin’s side as one stands before a how-d’ye-do, arms 
akimbo and head dropped. “ You’ll have to go to bed.” 

Hans Castorp had his answer ready. “ I can’t see,” he remarked, 
“ why I should go to bed with a temperature of 99.6° when the 
rest of you, who haven’t any less, can run about as you like.” 

“ But that is different,” Joachim said. “ Your fever is acute and 
harmless, the result of a cold.” 

“ In the first place,” said Hans Castorp, speaking with dignity 
and dividing his remarks into categories, “ I cannot comprehend 
why, with a harmless fever — assuming for the moment, that there 
is such a thing — one must keep one’s bed, while with one that is 
not harmless you needn’t. And secondly, I tell you the fever has 
not made me hotter than I was before. My position is that 99.6° 
is 99.6°. If you can run about with it, so can I.” 

“ But I had to lie for four weeks when I first came,” objected 
Joachim, “ and they only let me get up when it was clear that the 
fever persisted even after I had lain in bed.” 

Hans Castorp smiled. “ Well, and — ? ” he asked. u I thought it 
was different with you. It seems to me you are contradicting your- 
self; first you say our cases are different; then you say they are 
alike. That seems sheer twaddle to me.” 

Joachim made a right-about turn. When he turned round again, 
his sun-tanned visage showed an even darker shade. 

“ No,” he said, “ I am not saying they are alike; you’re getting 
muddled. I only mean that you’ve a very nasty cold. I can hear 
it in your voice, and you ought to go to bed, to cut it short, if 
you mean to go home next week. But if you don’t want to — I 
mean go to bed — why, don’t. I am not prescribing for you. Any- 
how, let’s go to breakfast. Make haste, we are late already.” 

“ Right-oh! ” said Hans Castorp, and flung off his covers. He 
went into his room to run the brush over his hair, and Joachim 
looked again at the thermometer on the wash-hand-stand. Hans 
Castorp watched him. They went down, silently, and took their 
places in the dining-room, which, as always at this hour, shim- 
mered white with milk. 

The dwarf waitress brought Hans Castorp his Kulmbacher beer, 
as usual, but he put on a long face and waved it away. He would 
drink no beer to-day; he would drink nothing at all, or at most a 
swallow of water. The attention of his table-mates was attracted: 
they wanted to know the cause of his caprice. Hans Castorp said 
carelessly that he had a little fever — really minimal: 99.6°. 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


172 

Then how altogether ludicrous it was to see them! They shook 
their fingers at him, they winked maliciously, they put their heads 
on one side, crooked their forefingers beside their ears and wag- 
gled them in a pantomime suggestive of their delight at having 
found him out, who had played the innocent so long. 

“ Aha,” said the schoolmistress, the flush mounting in her an- 
cient cheek, “ what sort of scandal is this? ” 

And “Aha, aha! ” went Frau Stohr too, holding her stumpy 
finger next her stumpy nose. “ So our respected guest has some 
temperament too! Foxy-loxy is in the same boat with the rest 
of us after all! ” 

Even the great-aunt, when the news travelled up to her end 
of the table, gave him a meaningful glance and smile; pretty Ma- 
rusja, who had barely looked at him up to now, leaned over and 
stared, with her round brown eyes, her handkerchief to her lips — 
and shook her finger too. Frau Stohr whispered the news to Dr. 
Blumenkohl, who could hardly do otherwise than join in the 
game, though without looking at Hans Castorp. Only Miss Robin- 
son sat as she always did and took no share in what was going on. 
Joachim kept his eyes on the table-cloth. 

It flattered Hans Castorp’s vanity to be taken so much notice of; 
but he felt that modesty required him to disclaim their atten- 
tions. “ No, no,” he said. “ You are all mistaken, my fever is the 
most harmless thing in the world; I simply have a cold, my eyes 
run, and my chest is stopped up. I have coughed half the night; 
it is thoroughly unpleasant of course.” — But they would not 
listen; they laughed and flapped their hands at him. 

“ Yes, of course, we know all about it — we know these colds; 
they are all gammon — you can’t fool us! ” and with one accord 
they challenged Hans Castorp to an examination on the spot. The 
news excited them. Throughout the meal their table was the liveli- 
est among the seven. Frau Stohr became almost hysterical. Her 
peevish face looked scarlet above her neck-ruche, and tiny pur- 
ple veins showed in the cheeks. She began to talk about how 
fascinating it was to cough. It was a solid satisfaction, when you 
felt a tickling come in your chest, deep down, and grow and grow, 
to reach down after it, and get at it, so to say. Sneezing was much 
the same thing. You kept on wanting to sneeze until you simply 
couldn’t stand it any longer; you looked as if you were tipsy; 
you drew a couple of breaths; then out it came, and you forgot 
everything else in the bliss of the sensation. Sometimes the ex- 
plosion repeated itself two or three times. That was the sort of 



THE THERMOMETER 


173 

pleasure life gave you free of charge. Another one was the joy 
of scratching your chilblains in the spring, when they itched 
so gorgeously; you took a furious pleasure in scratching till the 
blood came; and if you happened to look in the glass you would 
be astonished to see the ghastly face you made. 

The coarse creature regaled the table with these repulsive de- 
tails throughout the brief but hearty meal. When it was over, the 
cousins walked down to the Platz; Joachim seemed preoccupied; 
Hans Castorp was in an agony of snuffles and cleared his rasping 
throat continually. 

On the way home Joachim said: “ I’ll make you a suggestion. 
To-morrow, after midday meal, I have my regular monthly ex- 
amination. It is not the general; Behrens just auscultates a little 
and has Krokowski make some notes. You might come along and 
ask them to listen to you a bit. It is too absurd — if you were at 
home, you would send for Heidekind, and up here, with two 
specialists in the house, you run about and don’t know where you 
are, nor how serious it is, and if it would not be better for you 
to go to bed.” 

“ Very good,” said Hans Castorp. “ It’s as you say, of course, 
i can do that. And it will be interesting to see an examination.” 

Thus it was settled between them, and it fell out that as they 
arrived before the sanatorium, they met the Hofrat himself, and 
took the occasion to put their request at once. 

Behrens came out of the vestibule, tall and stooped, a bowler 
hat on the back of his head, a cigar in his mouth; purple-cheeked, 
watery-eyed, in the full flow of his professional activities. He had 
just come from the operating-room, so he said, and was on his 
way to private practice in the village. 

“ Morning, gentlemen, morning,” he said. “ Always on the 
jump, eh? How’s everything in the big world? I’ve just come 
from an unequal duel with saw and scalpel - great thing, you 
know, resection of ribs. Fifty per cent of the cases used to be 
left on the table. Nowadays we have it down finer than that; 
but even so it’s a good plan to get the Tnoxtis causa fixed up 
beforehand. The chap to-day knew how to take the joke - put 
up a good fight for a minute or so. -Crazy thing, a human 
thorax that’s all gone; pulpy, you know, nothing to catch hold 
of - slight confusion of ideas, so to speak. Well, well - and how 
are your constitutionalities? Sanctified metabolisms functioning 
O.K., doing their duty in the sight of the Lord? The walks go 
better in company, Ziemssen, old fellow, what? Hello, what are 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


174 

you crying about, Mr. Tripper? ” He suddenly turned on Hans 
Castorp. “ It’s against the rules to cry in public — they might all 
start! ^ 

“ It’s only my cold, Herr Hofrat,” answered Hans Castorp. 
“ I don’t know how I did it, but I’ve a simply priceless catarrh. 
It’s right down on my chest, and I cough a good deal too.” 

‘‘Indeed! ” Behrens remarked. “You ought to consult a re- 
liable physician.” 

Both cousins laughed, and Joachim answered, heels together: 
“We were just going to, Herr Hofrat. I have my examination 
to-morrow, and we wanted to ask if you would be so kind as to 
look my cousin over as well. The question is whether he will be 
well enough to travel on Tuesday.” 

“ A. Y. S.,” said Behrens. “ At your service. With all the pleas- 
ure in life. Ought to have done it long ago. Once you are up here, 
why not? But one doesn’t like to seem forth-putting. Very good 
then, to-morrow at two — directly after grub.” 

“ I have a little fever too.” Hans Castorp further observed. 

“You don’t say! ” Behrens cried out. “I suppose you think 
you are telling me news? Do you think I’ve no eyes in my 
head? ” He pointed with his great index finger to his goggling, 
bloodshot, watery eyes. “ Well, and how much? ” 

Hans Castorp modestly mentioned the figure. 

“ Forenoon, eh? H’m, that’s not so bad. Not bad at all, for a 
beginner — shows talent. Very good then, the two of you, to- 
morrow at two. Very much honoured. Well, so long — enjoy 
yourselves! ” He paddled away downhill, his knees bent, leaving 
a long streamer of cigar smoke behind him. 

“ Well, that came out just as you wanted it to,” Hans Castorp 
said. “We couldn’t have struck it luckier, and now I am in for 
it. He won’t be able to do much, of course — he may prescribe 
some sort of pectoral syrup or some cough lozenges. How- 
ever, it is good to have a little encouragement when you feel 
the way I do. But for heaven’s sake what makes him rattle on 
so? It struck me as funny at first, but in the long run I can’t 
say I like it. 4 Sanctified metabolism ’ — what sort of gibberish is 
that? If I understand what he means by metabolism, it is nothing 
but physiology, and to talk about its being sanctified — irreverent, 
I call it. I don’t enjoy seeing him smoke, either; it distresses 
me, because I know it is not good for him and gives him melan- 
cholia. Settembrini said his joviality is forced, and one must 
admit that Settembrini has his own views and knows whereof 
he speaks. I probably ought to have more opinions of my own. 



THE THERMOMETER 


I 75 

as he says, and not take everything as it comes, the way I do. But 
sometimes one starts out with having an opinion and feeling right- 
eous indignation and all that, and then something comes up that 
has nothing to do with judgments and criticism, and then it is all 
up with your severity, and you feel disgusted with the republic 
and the bello stile — ” 

He rambled on incoherently, not clear himself as to what he 
wanted to say. His cousin merely gave him a side glance, then 
turned away with an ecu revoir , and each betook him to his 
own balcony. 

“ How much ? ” asked Joachim softly, after a while — as though 
he had seen Hans Castorp consult his thermometer. 

And the latter answered indifferently: “ Nothing new.” 

He had in fact, directly he entered, taken up his new acquisi- 
tion from the wash-hand-stand and plunged it repeatedly through 
the air, to obliterate the morning’s record. Then he went into the 
balcony with the glass cigar in his mouth, like an old hand. But 
contrary to some rather exaggerated expectations, Mercurius 
climbed no further than before — though Hans Castorp kept the 
instrument under his tongue eight minutes for good measure. 
But after all, 99.6° was unquestionably fever, even though no 
higher than the earlier record. In the afternoon the gleaming col- 
umn mounted up as far as 99.7 °, but declined to 99.5 0 by evening, 
when the patient was weary with the excitement of the day. 
Next morning it showed 99.6°, climbing during the morning to 
the same level as before. And so arrived the hour for the main meal 
of the day, bringing the examination in its wake. 

Hans Castorp later recalled that Madame Chauchat was wear- 
ing that day a golden-yellow sweater, with large buttons and em- 
broidered pockets. It was a new sweater, at least new to Hans 
Castorp, and when she made her entrance, tardily as usual, she 
had paused an instant and, in the way he knew so well, presented 
herself to the room. Then she had glided to her place at the table, 
slipped softly into it, and begun to eat and chatter to her table- 
mates. All this was as it happened every day, five times a day; 
Hans Castorp observed it as usual, or perhaps even more poign- 
antly than usual, looking over at the “ good ” Russian table past 
Settembrini’s back, as he sat at the crosswise table between. He 
saw the turn of her head in conversation, the rounded neck, the 
stooping back. Frau Chauchat, for her part, never once turned 
round during the whole meal. But when the sweet had been 
handed, and the great clock on the wall above the bad ^ Russian 
table struck two, it actually happened, to Hans Castorp s amaze- 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


176 

ment and mystification, that precisely as the hour struck, one, 
two, the fair patient turned her head and a little twisted her body 
and looked over her shoulder quite openly and pointedly at Hans 
Castorp’s table. And not only at his table. No, she looked at 
himself, unmistakably and personally, with a smile about the 
closed lips and the narrow, Pribislav eyes, as though to say: “ Well, 
it is time: are you going? ” And the eyes said thou, for that is the 
language of the eyes, even when the tongue uses a more formal 
address. This episode shook and bewildered Hans Castorp to 
the depths of his being. He hardly trusted his senses, and at first 
gazed enraptured in Frau Chauchat’s face, then, lifting his eyes, 
stared into vacancy over the top of her head. Was it possible she 
knew he was to be examined at two o’clock? It looked like it; 
but that was as impossible as that she should be aware of the 
thought that had visited his mind in the last minute; namely, that 
he might as weli send word to the Hofrat, through Joachim, that 
his cold was better, and he considered an examination superfluous. 
This idea had presented itself to him in an advantageous light, but 
now withered away under that searching smile, transmuted into 
a hideous sense of futility. The second after, Joachim had laid 
his rolled-up serviette beside his plate, signalled to his cousin by 
raising his eyebrows, and with a bow to the company risen from 
the table. Whereat Hans Castorp, inwardly reeling, though out- 
wardly firm in step and bearing, rose too, and feeling that look 
and smile upon his back, followed Cousin Joachim out of the 
room. 

Since the previous morning they had not spoken of what lay 
before them, and silently now they moved down the corridor to- 
gether. Joachim hastened his steps, for it was already past the 
appointed hour, and Hofrat Behrens laid stress on punctuality. 
They passed the door of the office and went down the clean 
linoleum-covered stairs to the “ basement.” Joachim knocked at 
the door facing them; it bore a porcelain shield with the word 
Consulting-room . 

“ Come in,” called Behrens, stressing the first word. He was 
standing in the middle of the room, in his white smock, holding 
the black stethoscope in his hand and tapping his thigh with it. 

“ Tempo , tempo ” said he, directing his goggling gaze to the 
clock on the wall. “ Un poco piu presto , signori! We are not 
here simply and solely for the honourable gentlemen’s con- 
venience.” 

Dr. Krokowski was sitting at the double-barrelled writing-table 
by the window. He wore his usual black alpaca shirt, setting off 



THE THERMOMETER 


177 

the pallor of his face; his elbows rested on the table, in one hand 
a pen, the other fingering his beard; while before him lay various 
papers, probably the documents in reference to the patients to 
be examined. He looked at the cousins as they entered, but it was 
with the idle glance of a person who is present only in an auxiliary 
capacity. 

“ Well, give us your report card,” the Hofrat answered to Joa- 
chim’s apologies, and took the fever chart out of his hand. He 
looked it over, while the patient made haste to lay off his upper 
garments down to the waist and hang them on the rack by the 
door. No one troubled about Hans Castorp. He looked on awhile 
standing, then let himself down in a little old-fashioned easy- 
chair with bob-tassels on the arms, beside a small table with a 
carafe on it. Bookcases lined the walls, full of pamphlets and 
broad-backed medical works. Other furniture there was none, 
except an adjustable chaise-longue covered with oilcloth. It had 
a paper serviette spread over the pillow. 

“ Point 7, point 9, point 8,” Behrens said running through the 
weekly card, whereon were entered the results of Joachim’s five 
daily “ measurings.” “ Still a little too much lighted up, my dear 
Ziemssen. Can’t exactly say you’ve got more robust just lately ” — 
by the lately he meant during the past four weeks. — “ Not free 
from infection,” he said. “ Well, that doesn’t happen between one 
day and the next; we’re not magicians.” 

Joachim nodded and shrugged his bare shoulders. He refrained 
from saying that he had been up here since a good deal longer 
than yesterday. 

“ How about the stitches in the right hilum, where it always 
sounded so sharp? Better? eh^ Well, come along, let me thump 
you about a bit.” And the auscultation began. 

The Hofrat stood leaning backwards, feet wide apart, his stetho- 
scope under his arm, and tapped from the wrist, using the power- 
ful middle finger of his right hand as a hammer, and the left as 
a support. He tapped first high up on Joachim s shoulder-blade 
at the side of the back, above and below — the well-trained Joa- 
chim lifting his arm to let himself be tapped under the arm-pit. 
Then the process was repeated on the left side; then the Hofrat 
commanded: “ Turn! ” and began tapping the chest; first next 
the collar-bone, then above and below the breast, right and left. 
When he had tapped to his satisfaction, he began to listen, setting 
his stethoscope on Joachim’s chest and back, and putting his ear 
to the ear-piece. Then Joachim had to breathe deeply and cough 
— which seemed to strain him, for he got out of breath, and tears 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


178 

came in his eyes. And everything that the Hofrat heard he an- 
nounced in curt, technical phrases to his assistant over at the 
writing-table, in such a way that Hans Castorp was forcibly re- 
minded of the proceedings at the tailor’s when a very correctly 
groomed gentleman measures you for a suit, laying the tape about 
your trunk and limbs and calling off the figures in the order 
hallowed by tradition for the assistant to take them down in his 
book. “ Faint,” “ diminished,” dictated Hofrat Behrens. “ Vesicu- 
lar,” and then again “vesicular” (that was good, apparently). 
“ Rough,” he said, and made a face. “ Very rough.” “Rhonchi.” 
And Dr. Krokowski entered it all in his book, just like the tailor’s 
assistant. 

Hans Castorp followed the proceedings with his head on one 
side, absorbed in contemplation of his cousin’s torso. The ribs — 
thank Heaven, he had them all! — rose under the taut skin as he 
took deep inhalations, and the stomach fell away. Hans Castorp 
studied that youthful figure, slender, yellowish-bronze, with a 
black fell along the breastbone and the powerful arms. On one 
wrist Joachim wore a gold chain-bracelet. “ Those are the arms 
of an athlete,” thought Hans Castorp. “ I never made much of 
gymnastics, but he always liked them, and that is partly the reason 
why he wanted to be a soldier. He has always been more in- 
clined than I to the things of the body — or inclined in a different 
way. I’ve always been a civilian and cared more about warm 
baths and good eating and drinking, whereas he has gone in for 
manly exertion. And now his body has come into the foreground 
in another sense and made itself important and independent of the 
rest of him — namely, through illness. He is all ‘ lit up ’ within and 
can’t get rid of the infection and become healthy, poor Joachim, 
no matter how much he wants to get down to the valley and be 
a soldier. And yet look how he is developed, like a picture in 
a book, a regular Apollo Belvedere, except for the hair. But the 
disease makes him ailing within and fevered without; disease makes 
men more physical, it leaves them nothing but body ” — his own 
thought startled him, and he looked quickly at Joachim with a 
questioning glance, that travelled from the bared body up to the 
large, gentle black eyes. Tears stood out in them, from the 
effort of the forced breathing and coughing and they gazed 
into space with a pathetic expression as the examination went on. 

But at last Hofrat Behrens had come to an end. “ Very good, 
Ziemssen,” he said. “ Everything in order, so far as possible. Next 
time ” (that would be in four weeks) “ it is bound to show further 
improvement.” 



THE THERMOMETER 


179 


“ A#d Herr Hof rat, how much longer do you think — ” 

“ So you are going to pester me again? How do you expect to 
give your lads the devil down below, in the lit-up state you are 
in? I told you the other day to call it half a year; you can reckon 
from then if you like, but you must regard it as minimal. Have 
a little ordinary politeness! It’s a decent enough life up here, after 
all; it’s not a convict prison, nor a Siberian penal settlement! Or 
perhaps you think it is? Very good, Ziemssen, be off with you! 
Next! Step lively! ” He stretched out his arm and handed the 
stethoscope to Dr. Krokowski, who got up and began some super- 
numerary tapping on Joachim’s person.. 

Hans Castorp had sprung up. With his eyes fixed on the Hofrat, 
standing there with his legs apart and his mouth open, lost in 
thought, the young man began in all haste to make ready, with 
the result that he defeated his own purpose and fumbled in getting 
out of his shirt. But finally he stood there, blond, white-skinned, 
and narrow-chested, before Hofrat Behrens. Compared with Joa- 
chim, he looked distinctly the civilian type. 

The Hofrat, still lost in thought, let him stand. Dr. Krokowski 
had finished and sat down, and Joachim was dressing before 
Behrens finally decided to take notice. 

“ Oh-ho! ” he said, “ so that’s you, is it? ” He gripped Hans 
Castorp on the upper arm with his mighty hand, pushed him 
away, and looked at him sharply — not in the face, as one man 
looks at another, but at his body; turned him round, as one would 
turn an inanimate object, and looked at his back. “ H m,’ he 
said. “ Well, we shall see.” And began tapping as before. 

He tapped all over, as he had with Joachim, and several times 
went back and tapped again. For some while, for purposes of 
comparison, he tapped by turns on the left-hand side near the 
collar-bone, and then somewhat lower down. 

“ Hear that? ” he asked Dr. Krokowski. And the other, sitting 
at the table five paces off, nodded to signify that he did. He sunk 
his head on his chest with a serious mien, and the points of his 
whiskers stuck out. 

“ Breathe deep! Cough! ” commanded the Hofrat, who had 
taken up the stethoscope again; and Hans Castorp worked hard 
for eight or ten minutes, while the Hofrat listened. He uttered 
no word, simply set the instrument here or there and listened 
with particular care at the places he had tapped so long. Then he 
stuck the stethoscope under his arm, put his hands on his back, 
and looked at the floor between himself and Hans Castorp. 

“Yes, Castorp,” he said -this was the first time he had called 


i8o 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


the young man simply by his last name — “ the thing works out 
prceter propter as I thought it would. I had my suspicions — I can 
tell you now — from the first day I had the undeserved honour of 
making your acquaintance; I made a pretty shrewd guess that 
you were one of us and that you would find it out, like many 
another who has come up here on a lark and gone about with his 
nose in the air, only to discover, one fine day, that it would be 
as well for him — and not only as well, mark that — to make a more 
extended stay, quite without reference to the beauties of the 
scenery.” 

Hans Castorp had flushed; Joachim, in act to button his braces, 
paused as he stood, and listened. 

“ You have such a kind, sympathetic cousin over there,” went 
on the Hof rat, motioning with his head in Joachim’s direction 
and balancing himself on his heels. “ Very soon, we hope, we 
will be able to say that he has been ill; but even when he gets that 
far, it will still be true that he has bee7i ill — and the fact — a priori , 
as the philosophers say — casts a certain light upon yourself, my 
dear Castorp.” 

“ But he is only my step-cousin, Herr Hofrat.” 

“Tut! You won’t disown him, will you 5 Even a step-cousin is 
a blood relation. On which side? ” 

“ The mother’s, Herr Hofrat. He is the son of a step — ” 

“ And your mother — she’s pretty jolly? ” 

“ No, she is dead. She died when I was little.” 

“ And of what? ” 

“ Of a blood-clot, Herr Hofrat.” 

“ A blood-clot, eh? Well, that’s a Long time ago. And your 
father? ” 

“ He died of pneumonia,” Hans Castorp said; “ and my grand- 
father too,” he added. 

“ Both of them, eh 5 Good. So much for your ancestors. Now 
about yourself — you have always been rather chlorotic, haven’t 
you 5 But you didn’t tire easily at physical or mental work. Or 
did you — what 5 A good deal of palpitation? Only of late 5 Good. 
And a strong inclination to catarrhal and bronchial trouble 5 
— Did you know you have been infected before now? ” 

“ I? ” 

“Yes, you — I have you personally in mind. Can you hear 
any difference? ” The Hofrat tapped by turns on Hans Castorp’s 
left side, first above and then lower down. 

“ It sounds rather duller there,” said Hans Castorp. 

“ Canital. You ought to be a specialist. Well, that is a dullness, 



THE THERMOMETER 


181 

and such dullnesses are caused by the old places, where fibrosis has 
supervened. Scars, you know. You are an old patient, Castorp, 
but we won’t lay it up against anybody that you weren’t found 
out. The early diagnosis is very difficult — particularly for my 
colleagues down below; I won’t say we have better ears — though 
the regular practice does do something. But the air helps us, helps 
us hear, if you understand what I mean, this thin, dry air up here.” 

“ Certainly, of course,” Hans Castorp said. 

“ Very good, Castorp. And now listen, young man, to my 
words of wisdom. If that were all the trouble with you, if it was 
a case of nothing but the dullness and the scars on your bagpipe 
in there, I should send you back to your lares and penates and 
not trouble my head further about you. But as things stand, and 
according to what we find, and since you are already up here — 
well, there is no use in your going down, for you’d only have to 
come up again.” 

Hans Castorp felt the blood rush back to his heart; it ham- 
mered violently; and Joachim still stood with his hands on his 
back buttons, his eyes on the floor. 

“ For besides the dullness,” said the Hofrat, “ you have on the 
upper left side a rough breathing that is almost bronchial and 
undoubtedly comes from a fresh place. I won’t call it a focus of 
softening, but it is certainly a moist spot, and if you go down 
below T and begin to carry on, why, you’ll have the whole lobe at 
the devil before you can say Jack Robinson.” 

Hans Castorp stood motionless. His mouth twitched fearfully, 
and the hammering of his heart against his ribs was plain to see. 
He looked across at Joachim, but could not meet his cousin’s eye; 
then again in the Hofrat’s face, with its blue cheeks, blue, goggling 
eyes, and little, crooked moustache. 

“ For independent confirmation,” Behrens continued, “we 
have your temperature of 99.6° at ten o’clock in the morning, 
which corresponds pretty well to the indications given by the 
auscultation.” 

“ I thought,” Hans Castorp said, “ that the fever came from 
my cold.” 

“ And the cold,” rejoined the Hofrat, “ where does that come 
from? Listen, Castorp, let me tell you something, and mark my 
words — for so far as I can tell, you’ve all the cerebral convolu- 
tions a body needs. Now: our air up here is good for the disease — 

I mean good against the disease, you understand — you think so, 
don’t you? Well, it is true. But also it is good for the disease; it 
begins by speeding it up, in that it revolutionizes the whole body; 


i8z 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


it brings the latent weakness to the surface and makes it break out. 
Your catarrh, fortunately for you, is a breaking-out of that kind. 
I can’t tell if you were febrile down below; but it is certainly my 
opinion that you have been from your first day up here, and not 
merely since you had your catarrh.” 

“ Yes,” Hans Castorp said, “ I think so too.” 

“You were probably fuddled right from the start, in my 
opinion,” the Hofrat confirmed him. “ Those were the soluble 
toxins thrown off by the bacteria; they act like an intoxicant upon 
the central nervous system and give you a hectic flush. Now, 
Castorp, we’ll stick you into bed and see if a couple of weeks’ 
rest will sober you up. What follows will follow. We’ll take a 
handsome x-ray of you — you’ll enjoy seeing what goes on in your 
own inside- But I tell you straightaway, a case like yours doesn’t 
get well from one day to the next: it isn’t a question of the miracle 
cures you read about in advertisements. I thought when I first 
clapped eyes on you that you would be a better patient than your 
cousin, with more talent for illness than our brigadier-general 
here, who wants to clear out directly he has a couple of points 
less fever. As if ‘ lie down ’ isn’t just as good a word of command 
as ‘ stand up ’! It is the citizen’s first duty to be calm, and im- 
patience never did any good to anyone. Now, Castorp, watch out 
you don’t disappoint me and give the lie to my knowledge of 
human nature! Get along now, into the caboose with you — 
march! ” 

With that Hofrat Behrens closed the interview and sat down 
at the writing-table; this man of manv occupations began to fill 
in his time with writing until the advent of the next patient. But 
Dr. Krokowski arose from his place and strode up to Hans Ca- 
storp. With his head tipped back sideways, and one hand on the 
young man’s shoulder, smiling so heartily that the yellowish 
teeth showed in his beard, he shook him warmly by the hand. 



fry fry fry fry fry fry fry fry 


CHAPTER V 


Soup-Everlasting 

And now we are confronted by a phenomenon upon which the 
author himself may well comment, lest the reader do so in his 
stead. Our account of the first three weeks of Hans Castorp’s 
stay with “ those up here ” — twenty-one midsummer days, to 
which his visit, so far as human eye could see, should have been 
confined — has consumed in the telling an amount of time and 
space only too well confirming the author’s half-confessed ex- 
pectations; while our narrative of his next three weeks will 
scarcely cost as many lines, or even words and minutes, as the 
earlier three did pages, quires, hours, and working-days. We 
apprehend that these next three weeks will be over and done with 
in the twinkling of an eye. 

Which is perhaps surprising; yet quite in order, and conform- 
able to the laws that govern the telling of stories and the listen- 
ing to them. For it is in accordance with these laws that time 
seems to us just as long, or just as short, that it expands or con- 
tracts precisely in the way, and to the extent, that it did for young 
Hans Castorp, our hero, whom our narrative now finds visited 
with such an unexpected blow from the hand of fate. It may 
even be well at this point to prepare the reader for still other 
surprises, still other phenomena, bearing on the mysterious ele- 
ment of time, which will confront us if we continue in our hero’s 
company. 

For the moment we need only recall the swift flight of time — 
even of a quite considerable period of time — which we spend in 
bed when we are ill. All the days are nothing but the same day 
repeating itself — or rather, since it is always the same day, it is 
incorrect to speak of repetition; a continuous present, an identity, 
an everlastingness — ■ such words as these would better convey the 
idea. They bring you your midday broth, as they brought it yes- 
terday and will bring it to-morrow; and it comes over you — but 
whence or how you do not know, it makes you quite giddy to see 



THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


184 

the broth coming in — that you are losing a sense of the demarca- 
tion of time, that its units are running together, disappearing; and 
what is being revealed to you as the true content of time is merely 
a dimensionless present in which they eternally bring you the 
broth. But in such a connexion it would be paradoxical to speak 
of time as passing slowly; and paradox, with reference to such a 
hero, we would avoid. 

Hans Castorp, then, went to bed on the Saturday afternoon, 
as it had been ordained by Hofrat Behrens, the highest authority 
in our little world. There he lay, in his night-shirt with the em- 
broidered monogram on the pocket, his hands clasped at the back 
of his head, in his cleanly white bed, the death-bed of the Ameri- 
can woman and in all probability of many another person; lay 
there with his confiding blue eyes, somewhat glassy with his cold, 
directed toward the ceiling, and contemplated the singularity 
of his fate. This is not to say that, if he had not had a cold, his 
gaze would have been any clearer or more single-minded. No, 
just as it was, it accurately mirrored his inner state, and that, what- 
ever its simplicity, was full of troubled, involved, dubious, not 
quite ingenuous thoughts. For as he lay, he would be shaken from 
deep within him by a frantic burst of triumphant laughter, while 
his heart stood still with an anguish of extravagant anticipation 
like nothing he had ever known before; again, he would feel such 
a shudder of apprehension as sent the colour from his cheek, and 
then it was conscience itself that knocked, in the very throbs of 
his heart as it pulsed against his ribs. 

On that first day Joachim left him to his rest, avoiding all dis- 
cussion. He went two or three times tactfully into the sickroom, 
nodded to the patient, and inquired if he could do anything. 
It was easy for him to understand and respect Hans Castorp’s 
reserve — the more in that he shared it, even feeling his own posi- 
tion to be more difficult than the other’s. 

But on Sunday forenoon, when he came back from the walk 
which for the first time in weeks had been solitary, there was no 
putting it off anv longer; they must take counsel together over 
the necessary next step. 

He sat down by the bed and said, with a sigh: “ Yes, it’s no 
good; we must act — they are expecting you down home.” 

“ Not yet,” Hans Castorp answered. 

“ No, but inside the next few days, Wednesday or Thursday.” 

“ Oh, they aren’t expecting me so precisely on a particular 
day,” Hans Castorp said. “ They have other things to do besides 
counting the days until I get back. I’ll be there when I get there 



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and Uncle Tienappel will say: ‘ Oh, there you are again/ and 
Uncle James: ‘ Well, had a good time? ’ And if I don’t arrive, it 
will be some time before they notice it, you may be sure of that. 
Of course, after a while we’d have to let them know.” 

“ You can see how unpleasant the thing is for me,” Joachim said, 
sighing again. “ What is to happen now? I feel in a way respon- 
sible. You come up here to pay me a visit, I take you in, and here 
you are, and who knows when you can get away and go into your 
position down below? You must see how extremely painful that 
is to me.” 

“ Just a moment,” said Hans Castorp, without removing his 
hands from their clasped position behind his neck. “ Surely it is 
unreasonable for you to break your head over it. Did I come up 
here to visit you? Well, of course in a way I did; but after all, the 
principal reason was to get the rest Heidekind prescribed. Well, 
and now it appears I need more of a rest than he or any of us 
dreamed. I am not the first who thought of making a flying visit 
up here for whom it fell out differently. Remember about Tous- 
les-deux’s second son, and how it turned out with him — I don’t 
know whether he is still alive or not; perhaps they have fetched 
him away already, while we were sitting at our meal. That I am 
somewhat infected is naturally a great surprise to me; I must get 
used to the idea of being a patient and one of you, instead of just 
a guest. And yet in a way I am scarcely surprised, for I never have 
been in such blooming health, and when I think how young both 
my parents were when they died, I realize that it was natural I 
shouldn’t be particularly robust! We can’t deny that you had a 
weakness that way; we make no bones of it, even if it is as good as 
cured now, and it may easily be that it runs a little in the family, as 
Behrens suggested. Anyhow, I have been lying here since yester- 
day thinking it all over, considering what my attitude has been, 
how I felt toward the whole thing, to life, you know, and the de- 
mands it makes on you. A certain seriousness, a sort of disinclina- 
tion to rough and noisy ways, has always been a part of my nature; 
we were talking about that lately, and I said I sometimes should 
have liked to be a clergyman, because I took such an interest in 
mournful and edifying things — a black pall, you know, with a sil- 
ver cross on it, or R. I. P. — requiescat in pace , you know. That 
seems to me the most beautiful expression — I like it much better 
than ‘ He’s a jolly good fellow,’ which is simply rowdy. I think 
all that comes from the fact that I have a weakness myself, and 
always felt at home with illness — the way I do now. But things 
being as they are, I find it very lucky that I came here, and that I 


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1 86 

was examined. Certainly you have no call to reproach yourself. 
You heard what he said: if I were to go down and continue as I 
have been, I should have the whole lobe at the devil before I could 
say Jack Robinson.” 

“ You can’t tell,” Joachim said. “ That is just what you never 
can tell. They said you had already had places, of which nobody 
took any notice and they healed of themselves, and left nothing 
but a few trifling dullnesses. It might have been the same way with 
the moist spot you are supposed to have now, if you hadn’t come 
up here at all. One can never know.” 

“ No, as far as knowing goes, we never can. But just for that 
reason, we have no right to assume the worst — for instance with 
regard to how long I shall be obliged to stop here. You say nobody 
knows when I shall be free to go into the ship-yard; but you say 
it in a pessimistic sense, and that I find premature, since we cannot 
know. Behrens did not set a limit; he is a long-headed man, and 
doesn’t play the prophet. There are the x-ray and the photo- 
graphic plate yet to come before we can definitely know the facts; 
who knows whether they will show anything worth talking about, 
and whether I shall not be free of fever before that, and can say 
good-bye to you. I am all for our not striking before the time and 
crying wolf to the family down below. It is quite enough for the 
present if we write and say — I can do it myself with the fountain- 
pen if I sit up a little — that I have a severe cold and am febrile, 
that I am stopping in bed, and shall not travel for the present. The 
rest will follow.” 

“ Good,” said Joachim. “ We can do that for the present. And 
for the other matters we can wait and see.” 

“ What other matters? ” 

“ Don’t be so irresponsible! You only came for three weeks, and 
brought a steamer trunk. You will need underwear and linen, and 
winter clothes — and more footwear. And anyhow, you will want 
money sent.” 

“ If,” said Hans Castorp, “ if I need it.” 

“ Very well, we’ll wait and see. But we ought not ” — Joachim 
paced up and down the room as he spoke, u we ought not to be- 
have like ostriches. I have been up here too long not to know how 
things go. When Behrens says there is a rough place, almost 
rhonchi — oh well, of course, we can wait and see.” 

There, for the time, the matter rested; and the weekly and fort- 
nightly variations of the normal day set in. Hans Castorp could 
partake of them even in his present state, if not at first hand, then 


SOUP-EVERLASTING I 8 7 

through the reports Joachim gave when he came and sat by the 
bedside for fifteen minutes. 

His Sunday morning breakfast-tray was adorned with a vase of 
flowers; and they did not fail to send him his share of the Sunday 
pastries. After luncheon the sounds of social intercourse floated up 
from the terrace below, and with tantara and squealing of clarinets 
the fortnightly concert began. During its progress Joachim en- 
tered, and sat down by the open balcony door; his cousin half re- 
clined in his bed, with his head on one side, and his eyes swimming 
with pious enjoyment as he listened to the mo anting harmonies, 
and bestowed a momentary metaphorical shoulder-shrug upon 
Settembrini’s twaddle about music being “ politically suspect.” 

And, as we have said, he had Joachim post him upon the sights 
and events of the sanatorium life. Had there, he asked, been any 
toilets made in honour of the day, lace matinees or that sort of 
things — though for lace matinees the weather was too cold. 
Whether there were people going driving (certain expeditions had 
in fact been undertaken, among others by the Half-Lung Club, 
which had gone in a body to Clavadel) . On the next day, Monday, 
he demanded to hear all about Dr. Krokowski’s lecture, when Joa- 
chim came from it and looked in upon his cousin on his wav to 
the rest-cure. Joachim did not feel like talking, he appeared dis- 
inclined to make a report. He would have let the subject drop, as 
it had after the previous lecture, had not Hans Castorp persisted, 
and demanded to hear details. 

“ I am lying up here,” he said, “ paying full pension. I am en- 
titled to have all that is going.” He recalled the Monday of two 
weeks a^o, and his solitary walk, which had done him so little 
good; and committed himself to the view that it was that walk 
which had revolutionized his system and brought to the surface 
the latent infection. “ But what a stately and solemn way the peo- 
ple hereabout have of talking,” he said, “ I mean the common 
people; almost like poetry. ‘ Then thank ye kindly and God be 
with ye,’ ” he repeated, giving the words the woodman’s intona- 
tion. “ I heard that up in the woods, and I shall remember it all my 
life. You get to associate a thing like that with other memories and 
impressions, you know, and you never forget it as long as you live. 
— Well, so Krokowski held forth again on the subject of love, did 
he? What did he say about it to-day? ” 

“ Oh, nothing in particular. You know from the other time how 
he talks.” 

“ But what did he offer that was new? ” 


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I 88 

“ Nothing different. — Oh, well, the stuff to-day was pure 
chemistry,” Joachim unwillingly condescended to enlighten his 
cousin. It seemed there was a sort of poisoning, an auto-infection 
of the organisms, so Dr. Krokowski said; it was caused by the dis- 
integration of a substance, of the nature of which we were still 
ignorant, but which was present everywhere in the body; and the 
products of this disintegration operated like an intoxicant upon 
the nerve-centres of the spinal cord, with an effect similar to that 
of certain poisons, such as morphia, or cocaine, when introduced 
in the usual way from outside. 

“ And so you get the hectic flush,” said Hans Castorp. “ But 
that’s all worth hearing. What doesn’t the man know! He must 
have simply lapped it up. You just wait, one of these days he will 
discover what that substance is that exists everywhere in the body 
and sets free the soluble toxins that act like a narcotic on the nerv- 
ous system; then he will be able to fuddle us all more than ever. 
Perhaps in the past they were able to do that very thing. When I 
listen to him, I could almost think there is some truth in the old 
legends about love potions and the like. — Are you going? ” 

“ Yes,” Joachim said, “ I must go lie down. My curve has been 
rising since yesterday. This affair of yours has had its effect on 
me.” 

That was the Sunday, and the Monday. The evening and the 
morning made the third day of Hans Castorp’s sojourn in the 
“ caboose.” It was a day without distinction, an ordinary week- 
day, that Tuesday — but after all, it was the day of his arrival in 
this place, he had been here a round three weeks, and time pressed; 
he would have to send a letter home and inform his uncle of the 
state of affairs, even though cursorily and without reference to 
their true inwardness. He stuffed his down quilt behind his back, 
and wrote upon the note-paper of the establishment, to the effect 
that his departure was being delayed beyond the appointed time. 
He was in bed with a feverish cold, which Hofrat Behrens — over- 
conscientious as he probably was — refused to take lightly; insist- 
ing on regarding it as immediately connected with his (Hans Ca- 
storp’s) constitution and general state of health. The physician 
had perceived directly he saw him that he was decidedly anaemic; 
and take it all in all, it seemed as though the limit he had originally 
set for his stay was not regarded by the authorities as long enough 
for a full recovery. He would write again as soon as he could. — 
That’s the idea, thought Hans Castorp; not too much or too little; 
and whatever the issue, it will satisfy them for a while. The letter 
was given to the servant, w r ith instructions that it be taken direct 



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to the station and sent off by the earliest possible train, instead of 
being posted in the usual way in the house letter-box, with con- 
sequent delays. 

Our adventurous youth felt much relieved to have set affairs in 
such good train — if likewise a good deal plagued by his cough 
and the heavy-headedness caused by his catarrh — and now he 
began to live each day as it came — a day which never varied, 
which was always broken up into a number of sections, and which, 
in its abiding uniformity, could not be said either to pass too fast 
or to hang too heavy on the hands. In the morning the bathing- 
master would give a mighty thump on the door and enter — a 
nervous individual named Turnherr, who wore his sleeves rolled 
up, and had great standing veins upon his forearms, and a gurgling, 
impeded speech. He addressed Hans Castorp, as he did all the pa- 
tients, by the number of his room, and rubbed him with alcohol. 
Not long after he left, Joachim w T ould appear ready dressed, to 
greet his cousin, inquire after his seven o’clock temperature, and 
communicate his own. While he breakfasted below, Hans Castorp 
did the same above, his down quilt tucked behind his back, in en- 
joyment of the good appetite a change engenders. He was scarcely 
disturbed by the bustling and businesslike entrance of the two 
physicians, who at this hour made a hurried round of the dining- 
hall and the rooms of the bedridden and moribund. Hans Castorp, 
with his mouth full of jam, announced himself to have slept “ splen- 
didly *’ and looked over the rim of his cup at the Hofrat, who 
leaned with his fists on the centre table, and hastily scanned the 
fever chart. Both physicians wished him good-morning, and he 
responded in an unconcerned drawl as they went out. Then he 
lighted a cigarette, and beheld Joachim returning from the morn- 
ing walk, almost before he realized his departure. Again they 
chatted of this and that; Joachim went to lie down until second 
breakfast, and the interval seemed so short that even the emptiest- 
headed could hardly have felt bored. Hans Castorp, indeed, had so 
much food for thought in the events of the past three weeks, so 
much to ponder in his present state and what might come of it, 
that although two bound volumes of an illustrated periodical from 
the Berghof library lay upon his night-table, he had no need to 
resort to them. 

It was no different with the brief hour during which Joachim 
took his regular walk down to the Platz. He came in to Hans Ca- 
storp afterwards, told him whatever of interest he had seen, and 
sat or stood a few minutes by the sick-bed before he withdrew to 
his own balcony for the midday rest. And how long did that 


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19O 

last- Again, only a brief hour. It seemed to Hans Castorp he had 
barely settled to commune a little with his own thoughts, hands 
folded behind his head and eyes directed upon the ceiling, before 
the gong droned through the house, summoning all those not bed- 
ridden or moribund to prepare for the principal meal of the day. 

Joachim went down, and the “ midday broth ” was brought — 
“ broth ” in a symbolic sense merely, considering in what it con- 
sisted. Hans Castorp was not on sick-diet. He lay there and paid 
full pension, and what they brought him in the abiding present 
of that midday hour was by no means broth, it was the full six- 
course Berghof dinner, in all its amplitude, with nothing left out. 
Even on week-days this was a sumptuous meal; on Sundays it was 
a gala banquet and “ gaudy,” prepared by a cosmopolitan chef in 
the kitchens of the establishment, which were precisely those of a 
European hotel de luxe. The “ dining-room girl ” whose duty it 
was to serve the bedridden brought it to him in dainty cook- 
pots under nickel-plated dish-covers. She produced an invalid- 
table, a marvel of one-legged equilibrium, adjusted it across his 
bed, and Hans Castorp banqueted like the tailor's son in the 
fairy-story. 

As he finished, Joachim would return, and it might be as late as 
half past two before the latter went into his loggia, and the hush 
of the main rest period fell upon the Berghof. Not quite, perhaps; 
perhaps it would be nearer the truth to call it a quarter after, but 
these odd quarter-hours outside the round figures do not count, 
they are swallowed up unregarded, in places where one reckons 
time in large units — on long train journeys of many hours on end, 
or wherever one is in a state of vacant suspense, with all one’s being 
concentrated on pulling the time behind one. A quarter past two 
will pass for half past, will even pass for three, on the theory that 
it is already well on the way toward it. The thirty minutes are 
taken as a sort of onset to the full hour from three to four, and 
inwardly discounted. In this wise the duration of the main rest 
period was finally reduced to no more than an hour; and even this 
hour was lopped off at its latter end, elided, as it were. Dr. Kro- 
kowski played the part of apostrophe. 

Yes, nowadays when Dr. Krokow r ski went his independent af- 
ternoon round, he no longer made a circle round Hans Castorp; 
our young man was no longer an interval and hiatus, he counted 
as much as the others, he too was a patient. He was questioned, 
not ignored, as had so long been the case, to his slight and con- 
cealed but daily recurring annoyance. It was on Monday that Dr. 
Krokowski for the first time manifested himself in the room — 


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manifested being the only proper word for the phenomenon as 
Hans Castorp, with an involuntary start, perceived it. He lay 
in half — or quarter — slumber, and became aware that the As- 
sistant was beside him, having entered not through the door, but 
approaching from outside. His round at this time lav not through 
the corridor, but along the balconies, and he had come through 
the open door of the loggia with an effect of having flown 
through the air. There he stood at Hans Castorp’s bedside, in ail 
his pallor and blackness, broad-shouldered and squat, his lips 
parted in a manly smile that showed the yellowish teeth through 
his beard — the apostrophe! 

“ You seem surprised to see me, Herr Castorp,” he said, mildly 
baritone, drawling, unquestionably rather affected: he gave the r 
a foreign, palatal sound, not rolled, but pronounced with a single 
impact of the tongue against the upper front teeth. u But I am 
only performing my pleasant duty, in seeing after your welfare. 
Your relations with us have entered upon a new phase. Overnight 
the guest has become the comrade.” His patient was rather alarmed 
by the word comrade. — “ Who would have thought it p ” he 
jested fraternally. “ Who would have thought it on that evening 
when I had the honour of making your acquaintance, and you 
replied to my mistaken supposition — at that time mistaken — with 
the explanation that you were perfectly healthy? I believe I ex- 
pressed some doubt, but I assure you I did not mean it in that sense. 
I will not pretend to being more sharp-sighted than I am. I was 
not thinking of a moist spot. My remark was meant only in the 
general, philosophical sense, as a doubt whether the two concep- 
tions, man and perfect health, were after all consistent one with 
the other. Even to-day, after the examination, I confess that I per- 
sonally, as distinguished from my honoured chief, cannot regard 
the moist spot as the most important factor in the situation. It is, 
for me, a secondary phenomenon — the organic is always second- 
ary — ” 

Hans Castorp drew a short breath. 

“ — and thus your catarrh is, in my view, a third-line phe- 
nomenon,” Dr. Krokowski concluded, very softly. ” How is it? 
The rest in bed will undoubtedly be efficacious, in this respect. 
What have you measured to-day? ” And from then on the Assist- 
ant’s visit was in the key of an ordinary" professional call, to which 
it kept during the following days and weeks. Dr. Krokowski would 
enter by the open balcony door at a quarter to four or earlier, 
greet the patient with manly readiness, put the usual professional 
questions, with perhaps a little personal touch as well, a jest or two 


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l 9 2 

— and if all this had a slight aura of the questionable about it, yet 
one can get used even to the questionable, provided it keeps within 
bounds. It was not long before Hans Castorp forgot any feeling 
he may have had about Dr. Krokowski’s visits. They took their 
place in the programme of the normal day, and performed, as it 
were, an elision in the latter end of the main rest period. 

The Assistant would return along the balconies at four o’clock 
or thereabouts, that is to say mid-afternoon. Yes, thus suddenly, 
before one realized it, there one was, in the very deep of the after- 
noon, and steadily still deepening on toward twilight. Before tea 
was finished drinking, up above and down below, it was well on 
the way toward five o’clock; and by the time Joachim returned 
from his third daily round and looked in on his cousin, it would 
be near enough to six to reduce the remaining rest period to no 
more than a single hour — reckoned always in round numbers. It 
was an easy matter to kill that much time, if one had ideas in one’s 
head, and a whole or bis pieties on the table to boot. 

Joachim, on his way to the evening meal, stopped to say good- 
bye. Hans Castorp’s tray was brought. The valley had long since 
filled with shadow, and darkened apace as he ate. When he had 
done, he leaned back against his down quilt, with the magic table 
cleared before him, and looked into the growing dusk, to-day’s 
dusk, yet scarcely distinguishable from the dusk of yesterday or 
last week. It was evening — and had just been morning. The day, 
artificially shortened, broken into small bits, had literally crumbled 
in his hands and was reduced to nothing: he remarked it to him- 
self with a start — or, at any rate, he did at least remark; for to 
shudder at it was foreign to his years. It seemed to him that from 
the beginning of time he had been lying and looking thus. 

One day — some ten or twelve had passed since Hans Castorp 
retired to bed — there was a knock on his door at about this hour, 
before Joachim had returned from dinner and the social half-hour. 
Upon Hans Castorp’s inquiring “ Come in,” it opened, and Ludo- 
vico Settembrmi appeared — and lo, on the instant the room was 
flooded with light. For the visitor’s first motion, while still on the 
threshold, had been to turn on the electric light, which filled the 
room in a trice with vibrating brilliance, and reverberated from 
the gleaming white ceiling and furniture. 

The Italian had been the only one of the guests after whom Hans 
Castorp had expressly asked in these days. Joachim indeed, when 
he stood or sat by his cousin for ten or fifteen minutes — and that 
happened ten times in the course of the day — would relate what- 
ever there was of interest or variation in the daily life of the com- 


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munity; and Hans Castor p’s questions, whenever he put any, had 
been of a general nature. The exile wished to know whether there 
were new guests, or if any of the familiar faces were absent; it 
seemed to gratify him that only the former was the case. There 
was one new-comer, a hollow-cheeked, green-complexioned 
young man, who had been given a place at the next table on the 
right with Frau litis and the ivory-skinned Levi. Hans Castorp 
might look forward to the pleasure of seeing him. So no one had 
left? Joachim answered in a curt negative, his eyes on the ground. 
But he had to reply to this question every day or so, until at last 
he became restive and sought to answer once for all by saying that, 
so far as he knew, no one was purposing to leave — nobody did 
leave very much, up here, as a matter of fact. 

But Hans Castorp had asked after Settembrini by name, and de- 
sired to hear what he had “ said to it.” To what? “ Why, that I 
am in bed and supposed to be ill.” Settembrini, it seemed, had ex- 
pressed himself on the subject, though briefly. On the very day of 
Hans Castorp ’s disappearance he had come to find out his where- 
abouts of Joachim, obviously prepared to hear that the guest had 
departed; and on learning the explanation had responded only in 
Italian: first “ Eccof ” and then “ Foveretto! ” — as much as to say: 
“ There you are, poor chap! ” — It needed no more Italian than the 
cousins could boast to understand the sense in which he uttered 
the words. “ Why ‘ poveretto ’? ” Hans Castorp inquired. “ He 
sits up here with his literature made of politics and humanism and 
he is very little good for the ordinary interests of life. He needn’t 
look down his nose and pity me like that, I shall get down to the 
flat-land before he does.” 

And now Herr Settembrini stood here in the suddenly illumi- 
nated room — Hans Castorp, who had raised himself on his elbow 
and turned blinking toward the door, recognized him and flushed. 
Settembrini wore, as usual, his thick coat with the wide lapels, a 
frayed turnover collar, and the check trousers. As he came from 
supper, he was armed with the usual wooden toothpick. The cor- 
ner of his mouth, beneath the beautiful curve of his moustache, 
displayed the familiar fine, dry, critical smile. 

“ Good-evening, Engineer! May I be permitted to look in on 
you? If so, I need light — you will pardon my taking it upon my- 
self — ” and he waved his small hand toward the lamp in the ceil- 
ing. “ You were absorbed in contemplation, I should not wish to 
disturb you. A tendency to meditate is surely natural under the 
circumstances, and if you want to talk, you have your cousin. You 
see, I am well aware that I am superfluous. But even so - we live 


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194 

here close together, a sympathy springs up between man and man, 
intellectual and emotional sympathy. — It has been a full week that 
we have not seen you. I began to think you had left, as I saw your 
place empty down in the refectory. The Lieutenant told me better 
— or should we say worse, if that would not sound impolite? Well, 
and how are you' How do you feel? Not too much cast down, I 
hope? ” 

“ Ah, that is you, Herr Settembrini! How friendly of you! 
Refectory — oh, I say, that is good! Always at your jokes — but 
do sit down. You are not disturbing me in the least. I was lying 
there musing — no, musing is too much to say. I was simply too 
lazy to turn on the light. Thanks very much, I am subjectively as 
good as normal, and my cold is much better from lying m bed. But 
it was a secondary phenomenon, so everybody tells me. My tem- 
perature is still not what it should be, I have 99.5 0 to 99.7 °, all the 
time.” 

“ You take your temperature regularly? ” 

“ Yes, six times a day, like the rest of you. Pardon me, I am still 
laughing at your calling our dining-hall a refectory. That is what 
they are called in a cloister, isn’t it? After all, there is some resem- 
blance — not that I have been in a cloister, but I imagine they are 
something like this. And I have the ‘ Rule ’ at my fingers’ ends, and 
observe it faithfully.” 

“ As a pious brother should. One might say that your noviciate 
is at an end and you have made your profession. My formal con- 
gratulations. You even say ‘ our ’ dining-hall. But, without mean- 
ing to affront your manly dignity, you remind me more of a young 
nun than a monk, a regular new-shorn, innocent bride of Christ, 
with great martyrlike eyes. I have seen such lambs, here and there 
about the world; never without a certain — a certain access of 
sensibility. Yes, your cousin has told me about it. So you had your- 
self examined after all, at the eleventh hour.” 

“ Since I was febrile — of course, Herr Settembrini. What do 
you want? If I had been at home, I should have consulted a physi- 
cian. And here, at the source and fount so to speak, with two 
specialists in the house — it would have been very strange — ” 

“ Of course, of course. And you took your temperature, too, 
before they told you to. But they did recommend it, from the be- 
ginning. And the Mylendonk slipped you the thermometer? ” 

“ Slipped me — ? Since the occasion arose, I bought one from 
her.” 

“ I understand. An irreproachable transaction. And how many 
months did the chief knock you down for? Good heavens, I have 



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asked you that before! Do you remember? You had just come. 
You answered with such assurance — ” 

“ Of course I remember. I have had many new experiences since 
that time, but that I remember as though it were yesterday. You 
were so amusing, and spoke of Behrens as the judge of the lower 
regions — Radames, was it? No, wait, that is something else.” 

“ Rhadamanthus 5 Yes, I may have called him that. I am afraid 
I do not remember ever) 7 phrase that happens to well up to my 
lips.” 

u Rhadamanthus, of course. Minos and Rhadamanthus. And you 
spoke to us of Carducci at the same time — ” 

“ Pardon me, my dear young friend, we will, if you please, leave 
him out. The name, at this moment, sounds too strange upon ) our 
tongue.” 

“ That’s good too,” laughed Hans Castorp. “ But I have learned 
a good deal about him through you. — Yes, at that time I had not 
the faintest suspicion, I answered you that 1 was here for three 
weeks, I did not know any different. The Kleefeld girl had just 
oeen whistling at me with her pneumothorax, 1 hardly knew where 
I was. But I was feeling febrile even then — for the air up here is 
not only good against the illness, you knows it is also good for it, 
it sometimes brings it to the surface — w hich is of course a neces- 
sary step in the cure.” 

“ An alluring hypothesis. And has Hofrat Behrens also told 
you about the German-Russian woman we had here last year — 
no, year before last — for five months 5 He did not 5 He should 
have. A charming woman, of Russo-German origin, married, a 
young mother. She came from the Baltic provinces somewhere — 
lymphatic, anaemic, but probably some more serious trouble as 
well. She spent a month here and complained that she felt ill all 
the time. They told her to be patient. Another month passes, she 
continues to assert that she is actually worse instead of better. 
They point out to her that only the physician can judge how she 
is — she herself only knows how she feels; which does not signify. 
They are satisfied with the condition of her lung. Good. She says 
no more, she goes on with the cure, and loses weight by the week. 
The fourth month she faints during the examination. That is noth- 
ing, says Behrens, her lung is perfectly satisfactory. But by the 
fifth month she cannot get about, she goes to bed and writes to 
her husband, out in the Baltic provinces; Behrens gets a letter from 
him marked ‘ personal ’ and ‘ urgent ’ in a very firm hand — I saw 
it myself. Yes, says Behrens, and shrugs his shoulders, it seems to 
be indicated that she certainly cannot stand the climate up here. 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


196 

The woman was beside herself. He ought to have said that before, 
she had felt it from the beginning, she declared — they had killed 
her among them. Let us hope she recovered her strength when she 
went back to her husband.” 

“ Oh, that’s good, that’s very good! You do tell stories capitally, 
Herr Settembrini; every word is so plastic. And that story about 
the girl that went bathing in the lake, the one they gave the ‘ silent 
sister ’ to take her temperature with — I have often laughed at it, 
all by myself. Yes, what strange things do happen. One lives and 
learns. But my own case is still quite uncertain. The Hofrat is 
supposed to have discovered a trifling weakness, places where I 
was infected long ago, I heard them myself when he tapped me, 
and some fresh places he can hear now — what a funny word fresh 
is to use in such a connexion! But so far there are only the acoustic 
indications; real diagnostic certainty we shall only arrive at when 
I am about again, and the x-ray and photography have taken place. 
Then we shall have positive knowledge.” 

“You think so? You know that the photographic plate often 
shows spots that are taken for cavities when there are none there? 
And that, sometimes, it shows no spots although there is some- 
thing there? Madonna — the photographic plate! There was a 
young numismatician up here, with fever; and since he had fever, 
there were cavities plain to be seen on the plate. They could even 
hear them. They treated him for phthisis, and he died. The post- 
mortem showed his lung to be sound; the cause of his death was 
some coccus or other.” 

“ Oh, come, Herr Settembrini. Talking about post-mortems al- 
ready. I haven’t got that far yet, I assure you.” 

“ Engineer, you are a wag.” 

“ And you are an out-and-out critic and sceptic, I must say. You 
do not even believe in science. Can you see spots on your plate, 
Herr Settembrini? ” 

“ Yes, it shows some spots.” 

“ And you really are ill too? ” 

“ Yes, I am unfortunately rather ill,” replied Settembrini, and 
his head drooped. There was a pause, in which he gave a little 
cough. Hans Castorp, from his bed, regarded his guest, whom he 
had reduced to silence. It seemed to him that with his two simple 
inquiries he had refuted Settembrini’s whole position, even the 
republic and the bello stile. And he did nothing on his side to re- 
sume the conversation. 

After a while Herr Settembrini straightened himself, with a 
smile. 


SOUP-EVERLASTING 


1 97 

“ Tell me, Engineer,” he said, “ how have your family taken the 
news? ” 

“ What news do you mean? Of my delayed return? Oh, my 
family, you know, consists of three uncles, a great-uncle and his 
two sons, who are more like my cousins. Other family I have none, 
I was doubly orphaned when I was very small. As to how they 
took it — they know as much, and as little, as I myself. At first, 
when I had to go to bed, I wrote that I had a severe cold, and 
could not travel. Yesterday, as it seemed rather long after all, I 
wrote again, saying that my catarrh had drawn Hofrat Behren’s 
attention to the condition of my chest, and that he insisted I should 
remain until he is clear what the condition is. You may be per- 
fectly sure they took it calmly — it didn’t upset them.” 

“ And your position? You spoke of a sphere of practical activ- 
ity, where you were intending to enter shortly on certain duties.” 

“ Yes, as volunteer apprentice. I have asked them to excuse me 
for the present. You must not imagine they are in despair over my 
defection. They can carry on indefinitely without an assistant.” 

“ Good. Everything is in order, then, in that direction. Perfect 
equanimity all along the line. It is a phlegmatic race of people in 
your part of the country, is it not? But energetic, certainly? ” 

“ Oh, yes, very energetic,” said Hans Castorp. He mentally 
assayed the temper of his native city, and found that his inter- 
locuter had characterized it justly. “ Phlegmatic and energetic, 
yes, I should say they are.” 

“ I assume,” continued Herr Settembrini, “ in case your stay is 
prolonged, we shall make the acquaintance of your uncle — I mean 
your great-uncle — shall we not? He will undoubtedly come up to 
ascertain your condition.” 

“ Out of the question,” cried Hans Castorp. “ Under no con- 
ceivable circumstances. Wild horses could not drag hirn up here. 
My uncle is apoplectic, you understand; he has almost no neck at 
all. No, he has to have a reasonable atmospheric pressure; it would 
be worse for him up here than it was for your lady from the Baltic 
provinces — he would be in a dreadful way.” 

“ I am disappointed. And apoplectic 5 Energy and phlegm are 
not much use under those circumstances. — Your uncle is rich, I 
suppose? You are all rich down your way? ” 

Hans Castorp smiled at Herr Settembrini’s literary generaliza- 
tions. And again, from his distant couch, he cast a metaphorical 
eye upon the sphere from w T hich he had been snatched. He called 
up memories, he made an effort to judge objectively, and found 
that distance enabled him to do so. 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


198 

He answered: “ One is rich — or else one isn’t. And if not, so 
much the worse. I myself am no millionaire, but what I have is 
secured to me, I have enough to live on and be independent. But 
personalities aside — well, if you had said one must be rich, I should 
have agreed with you. If you aren’t rich, or if you leave off being, 
then woe be unto you. 4 Oh, he? ’ they will say about this or that 
person. ‘ He hasn’t any money, has he? ’ Literally that, and making 
just such a face; I have often heard them, and I see now it made an 
impression on me — which it would not have done, of course, un- 
less it had struck me as strange. Or don’t you think that follows? 
No, I don’t think you, for instance, as homo humarms , would feel 
very comfortable down there; it often struck me that it was pretty 
strong, as I can see now, though I am a native of the place and 
for mvself have never had to suffer from it. If a man does not serve 
the best and dearest wines at his dinners, people don’t go, and his 
daughters are left on his hands. That is what they are like. Lying 
here and looking at it from this distance, I find it pretty gross. 
What were the words you used — phlegmatic and — and energetic. 
That’s very good. But what does it mean? It means hard, cold. 
And what do hard and cold mean? They mean cruel. It is a cruel 
atmosphere down there, cruel and ruthless. When you lie here and 
look at it, from a distance, it makes you shudder.” 

Settembrini listened, and nodded; nodded after Hans Castorp 
had come to an end, for the present, of his pronouncement and 
fallen silent. 

Then he took a breath and said: “ I will not seek to extenuate 
the specific forms which life’s normal cruelty assumes in your 
native sphere. It is all one — for the reproach of cruelty rests upon 
somewhat sentimental grounds. You would scarcely even have 
levelled it, while you were in that atmosphere, for fear of being 
ridiculous in your own eyes. You left it to the drones to make, and 
rightly. That you make it now bears witness to a certain estrange- 
ment, which I should be sorrv to see increase; since he who falls 
in the habit of making it is in danger of being lost to life, to the 
manner of life to which he was born. Do you know, Engineer, 
what I mean bv being lost to life? I, I know it, I see it here every 
day. Six months at most after they get here, these young people 
— and they are mostly young who come — have lost every idea 
they had, except flirtation and temperature. And if they remain a 
year, they will have lost the power of grasping any other; they 
will find any other 4 cruel ’ — or, more precisely, ignorant and in- 
adequate. You are fond of anecdote — I could serve your turn. I 
could tell you of a young man I know, a husband and son, who 


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was up here for eleven months. He was a little older than you, yes, 
rather older. They let him go home, provisionally, as much 'im- 
proved; he returned to the bosom of his family — not uncles, you 
understand, but his wife and his mother. The whole day he lay 
with the thermometer in his mouth, he took no interest in any- 
thing else. ‘ You don’t understand,’ he said. ‘ No one understands 
who has not lived up there. Down here the fundamental concep- 
tion is lacking.’ In the end it was the mother who settled it. ‘ Go 
back,’ she said. ‘ There is nothing to be done with you any more.’ 
He went back, went back 4 home ’ — you know, don’t you, that 
they call this home when they have once lived here? He was en- 
tirely estranged from his young wife, she lacked the fundamental 
conception, and she gave up trying to get it. It was borne in upon 
her that he would find a mate up here who had it, and that he 
would stop with her.” 

Hans Castorp seemed to be only half listening. He went on 
staring into the incandescent brilliance of his white room, as into 
far space. 

He laughed belatedly, and said: “ He called it home^ That is 
sentimental, as you say. You know no end of stories. I was still 
thinking of what we said about hardness and cruelty; the same 
idea has gone through my head a number of times in these days. 
You see, a person has to have a rather thick skin to find it natural, 
the way they have of thinking and talking down there, the ‘ has 
he got any money? ’ and the face they make when they say it. It 
never came quite natural to me, though I am no homo humanus. 

I can see, now I look back, that I always struck by it. Perhaps that 
had to do with my tendency to illness, though I did not know 
about it at the time — those old places which I heard myself the 
other day. And now Behrens has found a fresh place. That, I must 
say, was a surprise to me — and yet, in a way, I don’t know that it 
was, after all. I never have felt myself as firm as a rock, and my 
parents, both of them, dying so young — for I have been doubly 
orphaned from youth up, you know — ” 

Herr Settembrini described a single gesture, with head, hand, 
and shoulders. Pleasantly, courteously, it put the question: “ Well, 
and what of it? ” 

“You are an author,” Hans Castorp said, “a literary man. It 
must be easy for you to understand a thing like that; you can feel 
how under those circumstances a man might not be of tough 
enough fibre to find that sort of cruelty quite natural, the cruelty 
of ordinary people, who go about joking and making money and 
filling their bellies. — I don’t know if I am expressing myself — ” 


200 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


Settembrini bowed. “You mean,” he interrupted, “that the 
early and repeated contact with death developed in you a tend- 
ency which made you sensitive to the harshness and crudity, let 
us say the cynicism, of our everyday, worldly existence.” 

“ Precisely! ” cried Hans Castorp, in honest enthusiasm. “ You 
have expressed it to a T, Herr Settembrini. Contact with death! 
I was sure that you, as a literary man — ” 

Settembrini put out his hand, laid his head on one side, and 
closed his eyes. It was a mild and beautiful gesture, a plea for 
silence and further hearing. He held it some seconds, even after 
Hans Castorp had ceased to speak and was waiting in suspense 
for what was to come. But at length he opened his black eyes, 
organ-grinder eyes, and spoke: “ Permit me. Permit me, Engi- 
neer, to say to you, and to bring it home to you, that the only 
sane, noble — and I will expressly add, the only religious way to 
think of death is as part and parcel of life; to regard it, with the 
understanding and with the emotions, as the inviolable condition 
of life. It is the very opposite of sane, noble, reasonable, or religious 
to divorce it in any way from life, or to play it off against it. The 
ancients adorned their sarcophagi with the emblems of life and 
procreation, and even with obscene symbols; in the religions of 
antiquity the sacred and the obscene often lay very close together. 
These men knew how to pay homage to death. For death is worthy 
of homage, as the cradle of life, as the womb of palingenesis. Sev- 
ered from life, it becomes a spectre, a distortion, and worse. For 
death, as an independent power, is a lustful power, whose vicious 
attraction is strong indeed; to feel drawn to it, to feel sympathy 
with it, is without any doubt at all the most ghastly aberration to 
which the spirit of man is prone.” 

Herr Settembrini left off speaking. He finished with this gen- 
eralization, and made it the definite period of his discourse. He 
had spoken in a very serious vein and by no means with conver- 
sational intent; he even refrained from giving Hans Castorp the 
opportunity for a rejoinder; but simply dropped his voice at this 

E oint and concluded his remarks. He sat now with his lips closed, 
is hands folded in his lap, one leg in its check trouser flung over 
the other, slightly swinging the foot, which he regarded with an 
austere expression. 

Hans Castorp too preserved silence. He leaned back in his plu- 
meau , turned his head to the wall, and drummed with his finger- 
ends on the coverlet. He felt set to rights, chidden, corrected; in his 
silence there was no little childish obstinacy. The pause lasted 
some time. 


SOUP-EVERLASTING 


201 


At length Herr Settembrini lifted his head, and said with a 
smile: “ You very likely recall, Engineer, that we have had a 
similar discussion once before — one might say the same discussion. 
We were talking about disease and dullness — I think we were 
taking a walk — and you found the combination a paradox, on the 
ground of your reverence for ill health. I called that reverence a 
dismal fancy which dishonoured human thought; and I was grati- 
fied to find you not disinclined to entertain my plea. We spoke 
of the neutrality and the intellectual indecision of youth, of its 
liberty of choice, of its inclination to play with all possible points 
of view, and that one should not — or need not — regard these ex- 
perimentations as final and definite elections. Will you permit 
me ” — Herr Settembrini smiled and bent forward as he sat, his 
feet close together on the floor, his hands between his knees, his 
head stretched out and a little on one side — “ will you permit 
me ” — and his voice had the faintest tremor in it — “ to be beside 
you in your essays and experiments, and to exercise a corrective 
influence when there appears to be danger of your taking up a 
destructive position? ” 

“ Why, certainly, Herr Settembrini ” — Hans Castorp hastened 
to abandon his forced and even peevish attitude, stop drumming 
on the bed-cover, and turn to his guest with friendliness, even 
with contrition. “ It is uncommonly kind of you — I must ask my- 
self if I really — that is, if there is anything — ” 

“ Sine pecimia , of course,” quoted Herr Settembrini, as he rose. 
“ I can’t let myself be outdone! ” They both laughed. The outer 
door opened, next moment the inner one as well. It was Joachim, 
returned from “ society.” When he saw the Italian he flushed, as 
Hans Castorp had done; the deep bronze of his face deepened by 
another shade. 

“ Oh, you have company,” he said. “ How nice for you! I was 
detained, they made me make one of a table of bridge. They call 
it bridge,” he said, shaking his head, “ as they do outside, but it 
was really something else entirely. I won five marks — ” 

“ Only so it doesn’t become a vice with you,” Hans Castorp 
laughed. “ Ahem! Herr Settembrini has beguiled the time for me 
— no, that is not the proper expression, though it may be all right 
for your mock bridge. Herr Settembrini has filled the time for 
me, and given it content, whereas when mock bridge breaks out 
in our midst, a respectable man feels he has to fight his way 
through. And yet to have the privilege of listening to Herr Settem- 
brini, to get the benefit of his good counsel, I could almost wish to 
keep my fever, and stop up here with you indefinitely. They 


202 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


would have to give me a ‘ silent sister ’ to measure with.” 

“ I repeat, Engineer, you are a wag,” said the Italian. He took 
leave gracefully and went. Alone with his cousin, Hans Castorp 
heaved a sigh. 

“ Oh, what a schoolmaster! ” he said. “ A humanistic one, of 
course. He never leaves off setting you right — first by means of 
anecdote, then by abstractions. And the things one gets to talk 
about with him, things you would never have thought you could 
talk about, or even understand! And if I had met him down be- 
low,” he added, “ I never should have understood.” 

At this hour Joachim would remain with him for a while, sacri- 
ficing a half or three-quarters of an hour of the evening cure. 
Sometimes they played chess on Hans Castorp’s magic table; Joa- 
chim had brought a set of chess-men from below. Then he would 
take his wrappings and go into the balcony, thermometer in 
mouth, and Hans Castorp too took his temperature for the last 
time, while soft music, near or far, stole up from the dark valley. 
The cure ended at ten. He heard Joachim, he heard the pair from 
the “ bad ” Russian table; he turned on his side and invited slumber. 

The night was the harder half of the day, for Hans Castorp 
woke often, and lay not seldom hours awake; either because his 
slightly abnormal temperature kept him stimulated, or because 
his horizontal manner of life detracted from the power, or the 
desire, to sleep. To make up for their briefness, his hours of slum- 
ber were animated by extremely lively and varied dreams, which 
he could ponder on awaking. And if the hours of the day were 
shortened by their frequent division into small sections, it was the 
blurred monotony of the marching hours of the night which 
operated with the like effect. Then as dawn came on, he found it 
diverting to watch the gradual grey, the slow emergence of the 
room and the objects in it, as though by the drawing of veils; to 
see day kindling outside, with smouldering or with lively glow; 
and it was always a surprise when the moment came round again 
and the thump of the bathing-master on his door announced to 
Hans Castorp that the daily programme was again in force. 

He had brought no calendar with him on his holiday, and did 
not always find himself sure of the date. Now and then he asked 
his cousin; who, in turn, was not always quite sure either. True, 
the Sundays, particularly the fortnightly one with the concert — 
it was the second Hans Castorp had spent in this situation — gave 
him a fixed point. So much was certain, that by little and little they 
had now got well on in September, close on to the middle. Since 
he went to bed, the cold and cloudy weather had given place to 



SUDDEN ENLIGHTENMENT 


203 

a succession of wonderful midsummer days. Every morning Joa- 
chim appeared arrayed in white flannel trousers, to greet his 
cousin, and Hans Castorp felt a pang of regret, in which both heart 
and youthful muscles joined, at the loss of all this splendid weather. 
He murmured that it w r as “ a shame,” but added to console himself 
that even if he were up and about he would hardly know how to 
take advantage of it, since it seemed it did not answer for him to 
exert himself much. And the wide-open balcony door did afford 
him some share of the warm shimmer outside. 

But toward the end of his prescribed term of lying, the weather 
veered again. It grew misty and cold overnight, the valley was hid 
by gusts of wet snow, and the dry heat of the radiator filled the 
room. Such was the day on which Hans Castorp reminded the 
doctor, on his morning round, that the three weeks were out, and 
asked leave to get up. 

“ What the deuce — you don’t say! ” said Behrens. “ Time’s up, 
is it ? Let’s see: yes, you’re right — good Lord, how fast we grow 
old! Things haven’t changed much with you, in the mean time. 
Normal yesterday? Yes, up to six o’clock in the afternoon. Well, 
Castorp, I won’t grudge you human society any longer. Up with 
you, man, and get on with your walks — within the prescribed 
limits, of course. We’ll take a picture of the inside of you — make 
a note of it,” he said as he went out, jerking his great thumb over 
his shoulder at Hans Castorp, and looking at the pallid assistant 
with his bloodshot, watery blue eyes. Hans Castorp left the “ ca- 
boose.” 

In galoshes, with his collar turned up, he accompanied his cousin 
once more to the bench by the watercourse and back. On the way 
he raised the question of how long the Hofrat might have let him 
lie had he not been reminded. And Joachim, looking worried, 
opened his mouth to emit a single pessimistic syllable, spread out 
his hands in an expressive gesture, and gave it up. 

Sudden Enlightenment 

A week passed before Hans Castorp received, through the Direc- 
tress von Mylendonk, the summons to present himself in the x-ray 
laboratory. He had not liked to press matters. The Berghof was a 
busy place, doctors and assistants had their hands full. New guests 
had recently come in: two Russian students with shocks of hair 
and black blouses closed to the throat, showing not a vestige of 
linen; a Dutch married couple, who were given places at Settem- 
brini’s table; and a hunch-backed Mexican, who frightened his table 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


204 

by fearful attacks of asthma, when he would clutch his neigh- 
bour, whether man or woman, in an iron grip like a vice, and draw 
him, as it were, struggling and crying for help, into the circle of 
his own extremity. The dining-room was nearly full, though the 
winter season did not actually begin until October. And Hans Ca- 
storp’s case was scarcely of such severity as to give him any special 
claim to attention. Frau Stohr, for all her stupidity and ill breed- 
ing, was unquestionably worse off than he — not to mention Dr. 
Blumenkohl. One must have lacked all discrimination not to have 
behaved retiringly, in Hans Castorp’s place — particularly since 
discrimination was in the atmosphere of the house. The mild cases 
were of no great account, that he had often heard. They were 
slightingly spoken of, looked at askance, not only by the more 
serious and the very serious cases, but even by each other. Log- 
ically, of course, each mild case was thus driven to think slight- 
ingly of itself; yet preserved its individual self-respect by merging 
it with the general, as was natural and human. 

“ Oh,” they would say, of this or that patient, “ there’s not 
much amiss with him. He hardly even ought to be up here, he has 
no cavities at all.” Such was the spirit — it was aristocratic in its 
own special sense, and Hans Castorp deferred to it, out of an 
inborn respect for law and order of every sort. It was natural to 
him to conform to the proverb which bids us, when in Rome, do 
as the Romans do. And indeed travellers show small breeding 
when they jeer at the customs and standards of their hosts, for of 
characteristics that do honour to their possessors there are all 
sorts and kinds. Even toward Joachim Hans Castorp felt a certain 
deference — not so much because he was the older inhabitant, his 
guide and cicerone in these new surroundings, as because he was 
unquestionably the more serious case of the two. Such being the 
attitude, it was easy to understand that each patient inclined to 
make the most he could of his individual case, even exaggerating 
its seriousness, so as to belong to the aristocracy, or come as close 
to it as possible. So Hans Castorp, when asked at table, might add 
a couple of tenths to his temperature, and could never help feeling 
flattered when they shook their fingers at him and called him an 
artful dodger. But even when he laid it on a little, he still remained 
a member of the lower orders, in whom an attitude of unassum- 
ing diffidence was only right and proper. 

He took up the life of his first three weeks, that familiar, regu- 
lar, well-regulated life with Joachim, and it went as pat as though 
he had never left it off. The interruption, indeed, had been insig- 
nificant, as he saw when he resumed his seat at table. Joachim, 


SUDDEN ENLIGHTENMENT 


205 

who laid deliberate stress on such occasions, had decorated his 
place with a few flowers; but there was no great ceremony about 
the greetings of the other guests, these were almost what they 
would have been after a separation of three hours instead of three 
weeks. This was not due to indifference toward his simple and 
sympathetic personality, nor to preoccupation with their own ab- 
sorbing physical state; but merely because they had actually not 
been conscious of the interval. And Hans Castorp could readily 
follow them in this; since sitting there in his place at the end of the 
table, between the schoolmistress and Miss Robinson, it was as 
though he had sat here no longer ago than yesterday at the 
furthest. 

If, even at his own table, the end of his retirement caused no 
stir, how should it have been remarked in the rest of the dining- 
room? And literally no soul had taken notice of it save Settem- 
brini, who strolled over at the end of the meal to exchange a lively 
greeting. Hans Castorp, indeed, would have made a mental reser- 
vation, in which he may or may not have been justified: he told 
himself that Clavdia Chauchat had noticed his return, that she had 
no sooner made her tardy entrance, and let the glass door slam 
behind her, than she rested her narrow gaze upon him — which he 
had met with his own — and that even after she sat down, she had 
turned and looked toward him, smiling over her shoulder, as she 
had three weeks before, on the day of his examination. The move- 
ment had been so open, so regardless — regardless of both himself 
and the other guests — that he did not know whether to be in 
ecstasies over it or to take it as a mark of contempt and feel angry. 
At all events, his heart had contracted beneath this glance, which 
so markedly and intoxicatingly gave the lie to the lack of social 
relations subsisting between him and the fair patient. It had con- 
tracted almost painfully at the moment when the glass door 
slammed, for to that moment he had looked forward with his 
breath coming thick and fast. 

It must be said that Hans Castorp’s sentiments toward the pa- 
tient of the “ good ” Russian table had made distinct progress 
during his retirement. The sympathy he entertained in his mind 
and his simple heart for this medium-sized person with the glid- 
ing gait and the “ Kirghiz ” eyes, as good as amounted to being 
“ in love ” — we shall let the word stand, although in strictness 
it is a conception of “ down below,” a word of the plains, capa- 
ble of giving rise. to a misconception: namely, that the tender 
ditty beginning “ One word from thy sweet lips ” was to some 
extent applicable to his state. Her picture had hovered before 


20 6 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


him in those early hours when he had lain awake and watched 
the dawn unveil his chamber; or at evening when the twilight 
thickened. It had been vividly present the night Settembrini had 
suddenly entered his room and turned on the light; was the rea- 
son why he had coloured under the humanistic eye. In each hour 
of his diminished day he had thought of her: her mouth, her 
cheek-bones, her eyes, whose colour, shape, and position bit into 
his very soul; her drooping back, the posture of her head, her 
cervical vertebra above the rounding of her blouse, her arms 
enhanced by their thin gauze covering. Possessed of these 
thoughts, his hours had sped on soundless feet; if we have con- 
cealed the fact, we did so out of sympathy for the turmoil of his 
conscience, which mingled with the terrifying joy his visions im- 
parted. Yes, he felt both terror and dread; he felt a vague and 
boundless, utterly mad and extravagant anticipation, a nameless 
anguish of joy which at times so oppressed the young man’s 
heart, his actual and corporeal heart, that he would lay one hand 
in the neighbourhood of that organ, while he carried the other 
to his brow and held it like a shield before his eyes, whispering: 
“ Oh, my God! ” 

For behind that brow were thoughts — or half-thoughts — 
which imparted to the visions their perilous sweetness. Thoughts 
that had to do with Madame Chauchat’s recklessness and aban- 
don, her ailing state, the heightening and accentuation of her 
physical parts by disease, the corporealization, so to speak, of 
all her being as an effect of disease — an effect in which he, 
Hans Castorp, by the physician’s verdict, was now to share. He 
comprehended the grounds of her audacity, her total disregard 
in smile and glance of the fact that no social relation existed 
between them, that they did not even know each other; it was 
as though they belonged to no social system, as though it were 
not even necessary that they should speak to each other! Pre- 
cisely this it was that frightened Hans Castorp; for frightened 
he was, in the same sense as when, in the consulting-room, he 
had looked from Joachim’s nude body with panic-stricken search- 
ing up to his eyes — only that then the grounds of his fear had 
been pity and concern, whereas here something quite different 
was in play. 

But now the Berghof life, that wonderfully favoured and well- 
regulated existence, was once more in full swing on its narrow 
stage. Hans Castorp, whilst awaiting his x-ray examination, con- 
tinued to enjoy its measured course, together with good Cousin 
Joachim, and to do* hour for hour, precisely as he did. No ques- 


SUDDEN ENLIGHTENMENT 


207 

tion but his cousin’s society was beneficial to our young man. 
For though Joachim’s were but a companionship m suffering, yet 
he suffered, as it were, conformably with military etiquette; even, 
though unconsciously, to the point of finding satisfaction in the 
service of the cure, of substituting it for the service down below 
and making of it an interim profession. Hans Castorp was not so 
dull as not to perceive all this, yet at the same time he was aware 
of its corrective and restraining influence upon his more civilian 
temper. It may have been this companionship, its example and 
the control it exercised, which held him back from overt steps and 
rash undertakings. For he saw all that Joachim had to endure from 
the daily assaults of an orange-scented atmosphere, commingled 
of such elements as round brown eyes, a little ruby, a great deal 
of unwarranted laughter, and a bosom fair to outward eyes. The 
honour and good sense which made Joachim flee these entice- 
ments gripped Hans Castorp, kept him under control, and pre- 
vented him from “ borrowing a lead-pencil” so to speak — from 
the narrow-eved one, a thing which he otherwise, from what we 
know of him, might well have been ready to do. 

Joachim never spoke of the laughter-loving Marusja, and thus 
Hans Castorp could not mention Clavdia Chauchat. He made 
up for this by his stolen commerce with the schoolmistress at 
table, when he would sit supporting his chin after the manner of 
old Hans Lorenz, and tax the spinster with her weakness for the 
charming invalid, until her face positively flamed. He pressed her 
to find out new and interesting facts about Madame Chauchat’s 
personal affairs, her origin, her husband, her age, the particulars 
of her illness. He wanted to know if she had children. Oh, no, 
she had none; what should a woman like her do with children 5 
Probably she was strictly forbidden to have any, and if she did, 
what kind of children would they be? Hans Castorp was forced 
to acquiesce. And now it was probably late in the day, he threw 
out, with prodigious objectivity. Madame Chauchat’s profile, at 
times, seemed to him already a little sharp. She must be over thirty. 
Fraulein Engelhart rejected the idea with scorn. Thirty 5 At worst 
not more than twenty-eight. She forbade her neighbour to use 
such words about Clavdia’s profile. It was the softest, sweetest, 
most youthful profile in the world, and at the same time inter- 
esting — of course it was not the profile of any ordinary healthy 
bread-and-butter miss. To punish him, she went on to say that she 
knew Frau Chauchat entertained a male visitor, a certain fellow- 
countryman who lived down in the Platz. She received him after- 
noons in her chamber. 


208 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


It was a good shot. Hans Castorp’s face changed in spite of 
himself; he tried to react, saying: “ Well, well! You don’t say 
so! ” but the words sounded strained. He was incapable of treat- 
ing lightly the existence of this fellow-countryman of Frau Chau- 
chat, much as he wished to appear to do so, and came back to 
it again and again, his lips twitching. A young man? Young and 
good-looking, according to ail accounts, the schoolmistress an- 
swered; she could not say from her own observation. Was he 
ill? Only a light case, at most. u Let us hope,” Hans Castorp re- 
marked with scorn, “ that he displays more linen than the other 
two, at the ‘ bad ’ Russian table.” Fraulein Engelhart, on punish- 
ment intent, said she could vouch for that. He gave in, and ad- 
mitted that it was a matter for concern. He earnestly charged her 
to find out all she could about this young man who came and 
went between the Platz and Frau Chauchat’s room. A few days 
later she brought him, not information about the young Russian, 
but a fresh and startling piece of news. She knew that Clavdia 
Chauchat was having her portrait painted, and asked Hans Ca- 
storp if he knew it too. If not, he might be assured she had it on 
the best authority. She had been sitting for some time, to a per- 
son here in the house, and the person was — the Hofrat! Yes, Herr 
Hofrat Behrens, no less, and he received her for the purpose al- 
most daily in his private dwelling. 

This intelligence affected Hans Castorp even more than the 
other. He made several forced jokes about it. Why, certainly, the 
Hofrat was known to occupy himself with oil-painting. Why 
not? It wasn’t a crime, anybody was free to paint. And the sittings 
took place in the widower’s own house — he hoped, at least, that 
Fraulein von Mylendonk was present! The schoolmistress ob- 
jected that the Directress was probably too busy. No busier than 
the doctor ought to be, Hans Castorp severely rejoined. The re- 
mark sounded final; but he was far from letting the subject drop. 
He exhausted himself in questions: about the picture, what size 
it was, and whether it was a head or a knee-length; about the 
hours of the sitting — but Fraulein Engelhart could not gratify 
him with these particulars, and had to put him off until she could 
make further inquiry. 

Hans Castorp measured 99.7 0 as a result of this communication. 
The visits Frau Chauchat received upset him far less than these 
she made. Her personal and private life — quite aside from what 
went on in it — had begun to be a source of anguish and unrest; 
how much keener, then, were his feelings when he heard such 
Questionable things about the way she spent her time! Speaking 



SUDDEN ENLIGHTENMENT 


209 

generally, it was altogether possible that her relations with the 
Russian visitor had a disinterested and harmless character. But 
Hans Castorp had been for some time now inclined to reject 
harmless and disinterested explanations as being in the nature of 
“ twaddle nor could he regard in any other light this oil- 
painting, considered as a bond of interest between a widowex 
with a robust vocabulary and a narrow-eyed, soft-stepping young 
female. The taste displayed by the Hofrat in his choice of a 
model was too like Hans Castorp’s own for him to put great 
faith in the disinterested character of the affair, and the thought 
of the Hofrat’s purple cheeks and bloodshot, goggling eyes only 
strengthened his scepticism. 

An observation which he made in these days, of his own ac- 
cord and quite by chance, had a different effect upon him, 
though here again what he saw confirmed his own taste. There 
sat, at the same table with Frau Salomon and the greedy schoolboy 
with the glasses, at the cousins’ left, near the side door, a patient 
who was, so Hans Castorp had heard, a native of Mannheim. He 
was some thirty years old; his hair was thin, his teeth poor, and 
he had a self-depreciating manner of speech. He it was who played 
the piano evenings, usually the wedding march from Midsummer 
Night* s Dream. He was said to be very religious — as “ those up 
here ” naturally often were. Every Sunday he went to service 
down in the Platz, and in the rest-cure he read devotional books 
with a chalice or palm branch on the front cover. This man’s 
eyes, so Hans Castorp one day observed, travelled the same road 
as his own: they hung upon Madame Chauchat’s lissom person 
with timid, doglike devotion. Once Hans Castorp had remarked 
this, he could not forbear corroborating it again and again. He 
saw him stand, of an evening, in the card-room, among the other 
guests, quite lost in gazing at the lovely, contaminate creature on 
the sofa in the small salon, in talk with the whimsical, fuzzy-haired 
Tamara, Dr. Blumenkohl, and the hollow-chested, stooping young 
men who were her table-mates. He saw him turn away, then twist 
his head, with a piteous expression of the upper lip, and roll his 
eyes back over his shoulder in her direction. He saw him colour 
and not look up, but then gaze avidly as with a crash the glass 
door fell to, and Frau Chauchat slipped to her place. And more 
than once he saw how the poor soul would place himself, after 
the meal, between the “ good ” Russian table and the exit, in 
order that she might pass close by him; she gave him neither 
glance nor thought, while he devoured her at close range with 
eyes full of sadness to their very depths. 


210 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


This discovery of his affected young Hans Castorp no little, 
though the plaintive, devouring gaze of the Mannheimer did not 
trouble his rest like the thought of Clavdia Chauchat’s private rela- 
tions with Hofrat Behrens, a man so much his superior in age, 
person, and position. Clavdia took no interest in the Mannheimer 
— had she done so, it would not have escaped Hans Castorp’s per- 
ception; in this case it was not the dart of jealousy he felt pierce 
his soul. But he did have all the sensations which the drunkenness 
of passion knows, when it sees its own case duplicated in the outer 
world, and which form a most fantastic mixture of disgust and 
fellow-feeling. To explore and lav open all the windings of his 
emotions would keep us far too long; suffice it to say that his ob- 
servation of the Mannheimer gave our poor young friend enough 
to think on and to suffer. 

In this wise passed the week before his x-ray examination. He 
had not known it was so long. But one morning at early breakfast 
he received the order through the Directress (she had a fresh 
stye, so this harmless though disfiguring ailment was clearly con- 
stitutional) to present himself in the laboratory that afternoon; 
and behold, when he came to think of it, a week had passed. He 
and his cousin were to go together, a half-hour before tea; the oc- 
casion would serve for Joachim to have another x-ray taken, as 
the old one was by now out of date. 

They shortened the mam rest period by thirty minutes and, 
promptly as the clock struck half past three, descended the stairs 
to the so-called basement, and sat down in the small antechamber 
between the consulting-room and the laboratory. Joachim was 
quite cool, this being for him no new experience, Hans Castorp 
rather feverishly expectant, as no one, up to the present, had ever 
had a view into his organic interior. They were not alone. Several 
other patients were already sitting when they entered, with 
tattered illustrated magazines on their laps, and they all waited 
together: a young Swede, of heroic proportions, who sat at Set- 
tembrini’s table; of whom one heard that, when he entered, the 
previous April, he had been so ill they had almost refused to take 
him, but he had put on nearly six stone, and was about to be 
discharged cured. There was also a mother from the “ bad ” Rus- 
sian table, herself a lamentable case, with her long-nosed, ugly 
boy, named Sascha, whose case was more lamentable still. These 
three had been waiting longer than the cousins and would there- 
fore go in before them — evidently there had been some sort of 
hitch in the laboratory, and a cold tea was on the cards. 

They were busy in there. The voice of the Hofrat could be 


SUDDEN ENLIGHTENMENT 


2 I I 


heard, giving directions. It was somewhat past the half-hour when 
the door was opened by the technical assistant to admit the 
Swedish giant and fortune’s minion. His predecessor had evidently 
gone out by another door. But now matters moved more rapidly. 
After no more than ten minutes they heard the Scandinavian 
stride off down the corridor, a walking testimonial to the estab- 
lishment and the health resort; and the Russian mother w T as ad- 
mitted with her Sascha. Both times, as the door opened, Hans 
Castorp observed that it was half dark in the x-ray room; an arti- 
ficial twilight prevailed there, as in Dr. Krokow ski’s analytic 
cabinet. The windows were shrouded, daylight shut out, and two 
electric lights were burning. But as Sascha and his mother went 
in, and Hans Castorp gazed after them, the corridor door opened, 
and the next patient entered the waiting-room — she was, of 
course, too early, on account of the delay in the laboratory. It was 
Madame Chauchat. 

It was Clavdia Chauchat who appeared thus suddenly in the 
little waiting-room. Hans Castorp recognized her, staring-eyed, 
and distinctly felt the blood leave his cheeks. His jaw relaxed, his 
mouth was on the point of falling open. Her entrance had taken 
place so casually, so unforeseen, she had not been there, and then, 
all at once, there she was, and sharing these narrow quarters with 
the cousins. Joachim flung a quick glance at Hans Castorp, after- 
wards not only casting down his eyes, but taking up again the 
illustrated sheet he had laid aside, and burying his face in it, Hans 
Castorp could not summon resolution to do the same. He grew 
very red, after his sudden pallor, and his hearr pounded. 

Frau Chauchat seated herself by the laboratory door, in a little 
round easy-chair with stumpy, as it were rudimentary arms. She 
leaned back, crossed one leg lightly over the other, and stared 
into space. She knew she was being looked at, and her Pribislav 
eyes shifted their gaze nervously, almost squinting. She wore a 
white sweater and blue skirt, and had a book from the lending- 
library in her lap. She tapped softly with the sole of the foot that 
rested on the floor. 

After a minute and a half she changed her position; looked 
round, stood up, with an air of not knowing what she was to do 
or where to go — and began to speak. She was asking some- 
thing, she addressed a question to Joachim, though he sat there 
apparently deep in his magazine, while Hans Castorp was do- 
ing nothing at all. She shaped the words with her lips and gave 
them voice out of her white throat; it was the voice, not deep, 
but with the slightest edge, and pleasantly husky, that Hans Ca- 


212 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


storp knew — had known so long ago and yet heard so lately, 
saying: “ With pleasure, only you must be sure to give it me back 
after the lesson.” Those words had been uttered clearly and flu- 
ently; these came rather hesitatingly and brokenly, the speaker 
had no native right to them, she only borrowed them, as Hans Ca- 
storp had heard her do before, when he experienced the mingled 
feeling of superiority and ecstasy we have described. One hand in 
her sweater pocket, the other at the back of her head, Frau Chau- 
chat asked: “ May I ask for what time you had an appointment? ” 

And Joachim, with a quick look at his cousin, answered, draw- 
ing his heels together as he sat: “ For half past three.” 

She spoke again: “ Mine was for a quarter to four. What is it 
then — it is nearly four. Some people just entered, did they not? ” 

“ Yes, two people. They were ahead of us. There seems to be 
some delay, everything is a half-hour late.” 

“ It is disagreeable,” she said, nervously touching her hair. 

“ Rather,” responded Joachim. “We have been waiting nearly 
half an hour already.” 

Thus they conversed, and Hans Castorp listened as in a dream. 
For his cousin to speak to Frau Chauchat was almost the same as 
his doing it himself — and yet how altogether different! That 
“ Rather ” had affronted him, it sounded odd and brusque, if not 
worse, in view of the circumstances. To think that Joachim could 
speak to her like that — to think that he could speak to her at all! 

— and very likely he prided himself on his pert “ Rather ” — much 
as Hans Castorp had played up before Joachim and Settembrini 
when he was asked how long he meant to stay, and answered: 
“ Three weeks.” It was to Joachim, though he had the paper in 
front of his nose, that she had turned with her question; because 
he was the older inhabitant of course, whom she had known longer 
by sight; but perhaps for another reason as well, because they 
two might meet on a conventional footing and carry on an ordi- 
nary conversation in articulate words; because nothing wild and 
deep, mysterious and terrifying, held sway between them. Had it 
been somebody brown-eyed, with a ruby ring and orange per- 
fume, who sat here waiting with them, it would have been his, 
Hans Castorp’s, part to lead the conversation and say: “ Rather ” 

— in the purity and detachment of his sentiments. “ Yes, madame, 
certainly rather unpleasant,” he would have said; and might have 
taken his handkerchief out of his breast pocket with a flourish, 
and blown his nose. “ Have patience, our case is no better than 
yours.” How surprised Joachim would have been at his fluency — 
but without seriously wishing himself in Hans Castorp’s place. 


SUDDEN ENLIGHTENMENT 


2I 3 

No, and Hans Castorp was not jealous of Joachim for being able 
to talk to Frau Chauchat. He was satisfied that she should have ad- 
dressed herself to his cousin; it showed that she recognized the 
situation for what it was. — His heart pounded. 

After Joachim’s cavalier treatment of Madame Chauchat — in 
which Hans Castorp seemed to savour something almost like faint 
hostility on his cousin’s part toward their fair fellow-patient, a 
hostility at which he could not help smiling, despite the commo- 
tion in his mind — “ Clavdia ” tried a turn up and down the room. 
Then, finding the space too confined, she too rook up an illustrated 
paper, and returned to the easy-chair with the rudimentary arms. 
Hans Castorp looked at her, with his chin in his collar, like his 
grandfather — it was laughable to see how like the old man he 
looked. Frau Chauchat had crossed one leg over the other again, 
and her knee, even the whole slender line of the thigh, showed be- 
neath the blue skirt. She was only of middle height — a thoroughly 
proper and delightful height, in Hans Castorp’s eyes — but rela- 
tively long-legged, and narrow in the hips. She sat leaning for- 
ward, with her crossed forearms supported on her knee, her shoul- 
ders drooping, and her back rounded, so that the neck-bone stuck 
out prominently, and nearly the whole spine was marked out 
under the close-fitting sweater. Her breasts, which were not high 
and voluptuous like Marusja’s, but small and maidenly, were 
pressed together from both sides. Hans Castorp recalled, suddenly, 
that she too was sitting here waiting to be x-rayed. The Hofrat 
painted her, he reproduced her outward form with oil and colours 
upon the canvas. And now, in the twilighted room, he would 
direct upon her the rays which would reveal to him the inside of 
her body. When this idea occurred to Hans Castorp, he turned 
away his head and put on a primly detached air; a sort of seemlv 
obscurantism presented itself to him as the only correct attitude 
in the presence of such a thought. 

The waiting together in the little room did not last for long. 
They evidently gave rather short shrift to Sascha and his mother 
in there, in their effort to make up for lost time. The technician 
in his white smock once more appeared, Joachim stood up and 
tossed his paper back on to the table, and Hans Castorp, not with- 
out inward hesitation, followed him to the open door. He was 
struggling with chivalrous scruples, also w T ith the temptation to 
put himself, after all, upon conventional terms with Frau Chau- 
chat, to speak to her and offer her precedence — in French, if he 
could manage. Hastily he sought to muster the words, the sentence 
structure. But he did not know if such courtesies were practised 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


214 

up here; probably the established order was more powerful than 
the rules of chivalry. Joachim must know, and as he made no 
motion to defer to sex, even though Hans Castorp looked at him 
imploringly, the latter followed his cousin past Frau Chauchat, 
who merely glanced up from her stooping posture as they went 
through the door into the laboratory. 

He was too much possessed by the events of the last ten minutes, 
and by what he left behind, for his mind to pass immediately with 
his body over the threshold of the x-ray laboratory. He saw noth- 
ing, or only vaguely, in the artificially lighted room; he still heard 
Frau Chauchat’s pleasantly veiled voice, with which she had said: 
“ What is it, then? . . . Some people have just gone in. . . . It is 
disagreeable ” — the sound of it still shivered sweetly down his 
back. He saw the shape of her knee under the cloth skirt, saw the 
bone of her neck, under the short reddish-blond hairs that were 
not gathered up into the braids — and again the shiver ran down 
his back. Then he saw Hofrat Behrens, with his back to them, 
standing before a sort of built-in recess, looking at a black plate 
which he held at arm’s length toward the dim light in the ceiling. 
They passed him and went on into the room, followed by the as- 
sistant, who made preparations to dispatch their affair. It smelled 
very odd in here, the air was filled with a sort of stale ozone. The 
built-in structure, projecting between the two black-hung win- 
dows, divided the room into two unequal parts. Hans Castorp 
could distinguish physical apparatus. Lenses, switch-boards, tower- 
ing measuring-instruments, a box like a camera on a rolling stand, 
glass diapositives in rows set in the walls. Hard to say whether this 
was a photographic studio, a dark-room, or an inventor’s work- 
shop and technological witches’ kitchen. 

Joachim had begun, without more ado, to lay bare the upper 
half of his body. The helper, a square-built, rosy-cheeked young 
native in a white smock, motioned Hans Castorp to do the same. 
It went fast, and he was next in turn. As Hans Castorp took off 
his waistcoat, Behrens came out of the smaller recess where he 
had been standing into the larger one. 

“ Hallo,” said he. “ Here are our Dioscuri, Castor and Pollux. 
If you feel any inclination to blub, kindly suppress it. Just wait, 
we shall soon see through you both. I expect, Castorp, you feel a 
little nervous about exposing your inner self to our gaze? Don’t 
be alarmed, we preserve all the amenities. Look here, have you 
seen my picture-gallery? ” He led Hans Castorp by the arm be- 
fore the rows of dark plates on the wall, and turned on a Jight 
behind them. Hans Castorp saw various members: hands, feet, 



SUDDEN ENLIGHTENMENT 


2I 5 

knee-pans, thigh- and leg-bones, arms, and pelvises. But the 
rounded living form of these portions of the human body was 
vague and shadowy, like a pale and misty envelope, within which 
stood out the clear, sharp nucleus — the skeleton. 

“ Very interesting,” said Hans Castorp. 

“Interesting sure enough,” responded the Hofrat. “Useful 
object-lesson for the young. X-ray anatomy, you know, triumph 
of the age. There is a female arm, you can tell by its delicacy. 
That’s what they put around you when they make love, you 
know.” He laughed, and his upper lip with the close-cropped 
moustache went up still more on one side. The pictures faded. 
Hans Castorp turned his attention to the preparations for taking 
Joachim’s x-ray. 

It was done in front of that structure on the other side of 'which 
Hofrat Behrens had been standing when they entered. Joachim 
had taken his place on a sort of shoe-maker’s bench, in front of a 
board, which he embraced with his arms and pressed his breast 
against it, while the assistant improved the position, massaging his 
back with kneading motions, and putting his arms further for- 
ward. Then he went behind the camera, and stood just as a pho- 
tographer would, legs apart and stooped over, to look inside. He 
expressed his satisfaction and, going back to Joachim, warned him 
to draw in his breath and hold it until all was over. Joachim’s 
rounded back expanded and so remained; the assistant, at the 
switch-board, pulled the handle. Now, for the space of two sec- 
onds, fearful powers were in play — streams of thousands, of a 
hundred thousand of volts, Hans Castorp seemed to recall — which 
were necessary to pierce through solid matter. They could hardly 
be confined to their office, they tried to escape through other 
outlets: there were explosions like pistol-shots, blue sparks on the 
measuring apparatus; long lightnings crackled along the walls. 
Somewhere in the room appeared a red light, like a threatening 
eye, and a phial in Joachim’s rear filled with green. Then every- 
thing grew quiet, the phenomena disappeared, and Joachim let out 
his breath with a sigh. It was over. 

“ Next delinquent,” said the Hofrat, and nudged Hans Castorp 
with his elbow. “ Don’t pretend you’re too tired. You will get a 
free copy, Castorp; then you can project the secrets of your bosom 
on the wall for your children and grandchildren to see! ” 

Joachim had stepped down; the technician changed the plate. 
Hofrat Behrens personally instructed the novice how to sit and 
hold himself. 

“ Put your arms about it,” he said. “ Embrace the board — pre- 


H 



2l6 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


tend it’s something else, if you like. Press your breast against it, as 
though it filled you with rapture. Like that. Draw a deep breath. 
Hold it! ” he commanded. “Now, please! ” Hans Castorp waited, 
blinking, his lungs distended. Behind him the storm broke loose: 
it crackled, lightened, detonated — and grew still. The lens had 
looked into his inside. 

He got down, dazed and bewildered, notwithstanding he had 
not been physically sensible of the penetration in the slightest 
degree. 

“ Good lad,” said the Hofrat. “ Now we shall see.” The ex- 
perienced Joachim had already moved over toward the entrance 
door and taken position at a stand; at his back was the lofty 
structure of the apparatus, with a bulb half full of water, and 
distillation tubes; in front of him, breast-high, hung a framed 
screen on pulleys. On his left, between switch-board and in- 
strumentarium, was a red globe. The Hofrat, bestriding a stool 
in front of the screen, lighted the light. The ceiling light went 
out, and only the red glow illumined the scene. Then the master 
turned this too off, with a quick motion, and thick darkness en- 
veloped the laboratory. 

“ We must first accustom the eyes,” the Hofrat was heard to 
say, in the darkness. “We must get big pupils, like a cat’s, to see 
what we want to see. You understand, our everyday eyesight 
would not be good enough for our purposes. We have to banish 
the bright daylight and its pretty pictures out of our minds.” 

“ Naturally,” said Hans Castorp. He stood at the Hofrat’s 
shoulder, and closed his eyes, since the darkness was so profound 
that it did not matter whether he had them open or shut. “ First 
we must wash our eyes with darkness to see what we want to see. 
That is plain. I find it quite right and proper, as a matter of fact, 
that we should collect ourselves a little, beforehand — in silent 
prayer, as it were. I am standing here with my eyes shut, and have 
quite a pleasant sleepy feeling. But what is it I smell? ” 

“ Oxygen,” said the Hofrat. “ What you notice in the air is 
oxygen. Atmospheric product of our little private thunderstorm, 
you know. Eyes open! ” he commanded. “ The magicking is 
about to begin.” Hans Castorp hastened to obey. 

They heard a switch go on. A motor started up, and sang furi- 
ously higher and higher, until another switch controlled and 
steadied it. The floor shook with an even vibration. The little red 
light, at right angles to the ceiling, looked threateningly across 
at them. Somewhere lightening flashed. And with a milky gleam 
a window of light emerged from the darkness: it was the square 


SUDDEN ENLIGHTENMENT 


111 

hanging screen, before which Hofrat Behrens bestrode his stool, 
his legs sprawled apart with his fists supported on them, his blunt 
nose close to the pane, which gave him a view of a man’s interior 
organism. 

“ Do you see it, young man? ” he asked. Hans Castorp leaned 
over his shoulder, but then raised his head again to look toward 
the spot where Joachim’s eyes were presumably gazing in the 
darkness, with the gentle, sad expression they had worn during 
the other examination. “ May I? ” he asked. 

“ Of course,” Joachim replied magnanimously, out of the dark. 
And to the pulsation of the floor, and the snapping and cracking 
of the forces at play, Hans Castorp peered through the lighted 
window, peered into Joachim Ziemssen’s empty skeleton. The 
breastbone and spine fell together in a single dark column. The 
frontal structure of the ribs was cut across by the paler structure 
of the back. Above, the collar-bones branched off on both sides, 
and the framework of the shoulder, with the joint and the be- 
ginning of Joachim’s arm, showed sharp and bare through the soft 
envelope of flesh. The thoracic cavity was light, but blood-vessels 
were to be seen, some dark spots, a blackish shadow. 

“ Clear picture,” said the Hofrat, “ quite a decent leanness — 
that’s the military youth. I’ve had paunches here — you couldn’t 
see through them, hardly recognize a thing. The rays are yet to 
be discovered that will go through such layers of fat. This is 
nice clean work. Do you see the diaphragm? ” he asked, and 
indicated with his finger the dark arch in the window, that rose 
and fell. “ Do you see the bulges here on the left side, the little 
protuberances? That was the inflammation of the pleura he had 
when he was fifteen years old. Breathe deep,” he commanded. 
“ Deeper! Deep, I tell you! ” And Joachim’s diaphragm rose 
quivering, as high as it could; the upper parts of the lungs could 
be seen to clear up, but the Hofrat was not satisfied. “ Not good 
enough,” he said. “ Can you see the hilus glands? Can you see 
the adhesions? Look at the cavities here, that is where the toxins 
come from that fuddle him.” But Hans Castorp’s attention was 
taken up by something like a bag, a strange, animal shape, darkly 
visible behind the middle column, or more on the right side of 
it — the spectator’s right. It expanded and contracted regularly, 
a little after the fashion of a swimming jelly-fish. 

“ Look at his heart,” and the Hofrat lifted his huge hand again 
from his thigh and pointed with his forefinger at the pulsating 
shadow. Good God, it was the heart, it was Joachim’s honour- 
loving heart, that Hans Castorp saw! 


2 1 8 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


“ I am looking at your heart,” he said in a suppressed voice. 

“ Go ahead,” answered Joachim again; probably he smiled 
politely up there in the darkness. But the Hofrat told him to be 
quiet and not betray any sensibility. Behrens studied the spots 
and the lines, the black festoon in the intercostal space; while 
Hans Castorp gazed without wearying at Joachim’s graveyard 
shape and bony tenement, this lean memento mori , this scaffold- 
ing for mortal flesh to hang on. “ Yes, yes! I see, I see! ” he said, 
several times over. “ My God, I see! ” He had heard of a woman, 
a long-dead member of the Tienappel connexion, who had been 
endowed or afflicted with a heavy gift, which she bore in all 
humility: namely, that the skeletons of persons about to die would 
appear before her. Thus now Hans Castorp was privileged to 
behold the good Joachim — but with the aid and under the aus- 
pices of physical science; and by his cousin’s express permission, 
so that it was quite legitimate and without gruesome significance. 
Yet a certain sympathy came over him with the melancholy des- 
tiny of his clairvoyant relative. He was strongly moved by what 
he saw — or more precisely, by the fact that he saw it — and felt 
stirrings of uneasy doubt, as to whether it was really permissible 
and innocent to stand here in the quaking, crackling darkness 
and gaze like this; his itch to commit the indiscretion conflicted 
in his bosom with religious emotion and feelings of concern. 

But a few minutes later he himself stood in the pillory, in the 
midst of the electrical storm, while Joachim, his body closed up 
again, put on his clothes. Again the Hofrat peered through the 
milky glass, this time into Hans Castorp’s own inside; and from 
his half-utterances, his broken phrases and bursts of scolding, 
the young man gathered that what he saw corresponded to his 
expectations. He was so kind as to permit the patient, at his 
request, to look at his own hand through the screen. And Hans 
Castorp saw, precisely what he must have expected, but what it 
is hardly permitted man to see, and what he had never thought 
it would be vouchsafed him to see: he looked into his own grave. 
The process of decay was forestalled by the powers of the light- 
ray, the flesh in which he walked disintegrated, annihilated, dis- 
solved in vacant mist, and there within it was the finely turned 
skeleton of his own hand, the seal ring he had inherited from his 
grandfather hanging loose and black on the joint of his ring- 
finger — a hard, material object, with which man adorns the body 
that is fated to melt away beneath it, when it passes on to another 
flesh that can wear it for yet a little while. With the eyes of his 
Tienappel ancestress, penetrating, prophetic eyes, he gazed at 



FREEDOM 219 

this familiar part of his own body, and for the first time in his 
life he understood that he would die. At the thought there came 
over his face the expression it usually wore when he listened to 
music: a little dull, sleepy, and pious, his mouth half open, his 
head inclined toward the shoulder. 

The Hof rat said: “ Spooky, what? Yes, there’s something dis- 
tinctly spooky about it.” 

He closed off the current. The floor ceased to vibrate, the 
lightnings to play, the magic window was quenched in darkness. 
The ceiling light came on. As Hans Castorp flung on his clothes, 
the Hofrat gave the two young men the results of his observa- 
tions, in non-technical language, out of regard for their lay 
minds. It seemed that in Hans Castorp’s case, the test of the eye 
confirmed that of the ear in a way to add lustre to science. The 
Hofrat had seen the old as well as the fresh spots, and “ strands ” 
ran from the bronchial tubes rather far into the organ itself — 
“ strands ” with “ nodules.” Hans Castorp would be able to see 
for himself later, in the diapositive which they would give him 
for his very own. The word of command was calm, patience, 
manly self-discipline; measure, eat, lie down, wait, and drink tea. 
They left; Hans Castorp, going out behind Joachim, looked over 
his shoulder. Ushered in by the technician, Frau Chauchat was 
entering the laboratory. 


Freedom 

How did it seem now to our young Hans Castorp? Was it as 
though the seven weeks which, demonstrably and without the 
shadow of a doubt, he had spent with them up here, were only 
seven days? Or, on the contrary, did they seem much longer than 
had actually been the case? He asked himself, inwardly, and also 
by way of asking Joachim; but he could not decide. Both were 
probably true: when he looked back, the time seemed both un- 
naturally long and unnaturally short, or rather it seemed anything 
but what it actually was — in saying which we assume that time 
is a natural phenomenon, and that it is admissible to associate with 
it the conception of actuality. 

At all events October was before the door, it might enter any 
day. The calculation was an easy one for Hans Castorp to make, 
and he gathered the same result from the conversation of his fel- 
low-patients. “ Do you know that in five days it will be the first 
again? ” he heard Hermine Kleefeld say to two of her familiars, 


220 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


the student Rasmussen and the thick-lipped young man, whose 
name was Ganser. It was after luncheon, and the guests lingered 
chatting in the dining-room, though the air was heavy with the 
odours of the meal just served, instead of going into the after- 
noon rest-cure. “ The first of October, I saw it on the calendar in 
the office. That makes the second of its kind I’ve spent in this 
pleasure resort. Well, summer is over, in so far as there has been 
a summer, that is — it has really been a sell, like life in general.” 
She shook her head, fetched a sigh from her one lung, and rolled 
up to the ceiling her dull and stolid eyes. “ Cheer up, Rasmussen,” 
she said, and slapped her comrade on the drooping shoulder. 
“ Make a few jokes! ” 

“ I don’t know many,” he responded, letting his hands flap 
finlike before his breast, “ and those I do I can’t tell, I’m so tired 
all the time.” 

“ ‘ Not even a dog,’ ” Ganser said through his teeth, “ ‘ would 
want to live longer ’ — if he had to live like this.” 

They laughed and shrugged their shoulders. 

Settembrini had been standing near them, his toothpick be- 
tween his lips. As they went out he said to Hans Castorp: “ Don’t 
you believe them, Engineer, never believe them when they grum- 
ble. They all do it, without exception, and all of them are only 
too much at home up here. They lead a loose and idle life, and 
imagine themselves entitled to pity, and justified of their bitter- 
ness, irony, and cynicism. ‘ This pleasure resort,’ she said. Well, 
isn’t it a pleasure resort, then? In my humble opinion it is, and 
in a very questionable sense too. So life is a 4 sell,’ up here at 
this pleasure resort! But once let them go down below and their 
manner of life will be such as to leave no doubt that they mean 
to come back again. Irony, forsooth! Guard yourself, Engineer, 
from the sort of irony that thrives up here; guard yourself alto- 
gether from taking on their mental attitude! Where irony is not 
a direct and classic device of oratory, not for a moment equivocal 
to a healthy mind, it makes for depravity, it becomes a drawback 
to civilization, an unclean traffic with the forces of reaction, vice, 
and materialism. As the atmosphere in which we live is obviously 
very favourable to such miasmic growths, I may hope, or rather, 
I must fear, that you understand my meaning.” 

Truly the Italian’s words were of the sort that seven weeks 
ago, down in the flat-land, would have been empty sound to 
Hans Castorp’s ears. But his stay up here had made his mind 
receptive to them: receptive in the sense that he comprehended 
them with his mind, if not with his sympathies, which would 



FREEDOM 


221 


have meant even more. For although he was at bottom glad that 
Settembrini, after all that had passed, continued, as he did, still 
to talk to him, admonishing, instructing, seeking to establish an 
influence upon his mind, yet his understanding had reached the 
point where he was critical of the Italian’s words, and at times, 
up to a point, withheld his assent. “ Imagine,” he said to himself, 
“ he talks about irony just as he does about music, he’ll soon be 
telling us that it is politically suspect — that is, from the moment 
it ceases to be a 4 direct and classic device of oratory.’ But irony 
that is ‘ not for a moment equivocal ’ — what kind of irony would 
that be, I should like to ask, if I may make so bold as to put in my 
oar ? It would be a piece of dried-up pedantry! ” Thus ungrateful 
is immature youth! It takes all that is offered, and bites the hand 
that feeds it. 

But it would have seemed too risky to put his opposition into 
words. He confined himself to commenting upon what Herr Set- 
tembrini had said about Hermine Kleefeld, which he found un- 
generous — or rather, had his reasons for wishing to find it so. 

“ But the girl is ill,” he said. “ She is seriously ill, without the 
shadow of a doubt — she has every reason for pessimism. What 
do you expect of her? ” 

“ Disease and despair,” Settembrini said, “ are often only forms 
of depravity.” 

“ And Leopardi,” thought Hans Castorp, “ who definitely de- 
spaired of science and progress? And our schoolmaster himself? 
He is infected too and keeps coming back here, and Carducci 
would have had small joy of him.” 

Aloud he said: “ You are good! Why, the girl may lie down 
and die any day, and you call it depravity! You’ll have to make 
that a little clearer. If you said that illness is sometimes a conse- 
quence of depravity, that would at least be sensible.” 

“ Very sensible indeed! ” Settembrini put in. “ My word! So 
if I stopped at that, you would be satisfied? ” 

“ Or if you said that illness may serve as a pretext for depravity 
— that would be all right, too.” 

“ Grazie tanto! ” 

“ But illness a form of depravity? That is to say, not origi- 
nating in depravity, but itself depravity? That seems to me a 
paradox.” 

“ I beg of you, Engineer, not to impute to me anything of the 
sort. I despise paradoxes, I hate them. All that I said to you about 
irony I would say over again about paradoxes, and more besides. 
Paradox is the poisonous flower of quietism, the iridescent surface 


222 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


of the rotting mind, the greatest depravity of all! Moreover, I note 
that you are once more defending disease — ” 

“ No; what you are saying interests me. It reminds me of things 
Dr. Krokowski says in his Monday lectures. He too explains or- 
ganic disease as a secondary phenomenon.” 

“ Scarcely the pure idealist.” 

“ What have you against him? ” 

44 Just that.” 

“You are down on analysis? ” 

“ Not always — I am for it and against it, both by turns.” 

“ How am I to understand that? ” 

“ Analysis as an instrument of enlightenment and civilization 
is good, in so far as it shatters absurd convictions, acts as a solvent 
upon natural prejudices, and undermines authority; good, in other 
words, in that it sets free, refines, humanizes, makes slaves ripe 
for freedom. But it is bad, very bad, in so far as it stands in the 
way of action, cannot shape the vital forces, maims life at its 
roots. Analysis can be a very unappetizing affair, as much so as 
death, with which it may well belong — allied to the grave and its 
unsavory anatomy.” 

“ Well roared, lion,” Herr Castorp could not help thinking, 
as he often did when Herr Settembrini delivered himself of 
something pedagogic. Aloud he only said: “We’ve been having 
to do with x-ray anatomy in these days, down on the lower-floor. 
Behrens called it that, when he x-rayed us.” 

“ Oh, so you have made that stage too^ Well? ” 

“ I saw the skeleton of my hand,” Hans Castorp said, and sought 
to call up the feeling that had mounted in him at the sight. “ Did 
you get them to show you yours? ” 

44 No, I don’t take the faintest interest in my skeleton. But what 
was the physician’s verdict? ” 

44 He saw 4 strands ’ — strands with nodules.” 

44 The scoundrel! ” 

44 I have heard you call Hofrat Behrens that before, Herr Set- 
tembrini. What do you mean by it? ” 

44 1 assure you the epithet was deliberately chosen.” 

“No, Herr Settembrini, there I find you are unjust. I admit 
the man has his faults; his manner of speech becomes disagree- 
able in the long run, there is something forced about it, espe- 
cially when one remembers he had the great sorrow of losing 
his wife up here. But what an estimable and meritorious man he 
is, after all, a benefactor to suffering humanity! I met him the 
other day coming from an operation, resection of ribs, a matter 



FREEDOM 


223 

of life and death, you know. It made a great impression on me, 
to see him fresh from such exacting and splendid work, in which 
he is so much the master. He was still warm from it, and had 
lighted a cigar by way of reward. I envied him.” 

“ That was commendable of you. Well, and your sentence? ” 

“ He has not set any definite time.” 

“ That is good too. And now let us betake us to our cure, Engi- 
neer. Each to his own place.” 

They parted at the door of number thirty-four. 

“ You are going up to the roof now, Herr Settembrini^ It must 
be more fun to lie in company than alone. Do you talk? Are they 
pleasant people? ” 

“ Oh, they are nothing but Parthians and Scythians.” 

“ You mean Russians? ” 

“ Russians, male and female,” said Settembrini, and the comer 
of his mouth spanned a little. “ Good-bye, Engineer.” 

He had said that of malice aforethought, undoubtedly. Hans 
Castorp walked into his own room in confusion. Was Settem- 
brini aware of his state? Very likely, like the schoolmaster he 
was, he had been spying on him, and seen which way his eyes 
were going. Hans Castorp was angry with the Italian and also 
with himself, for having by his lack of self-control invited the 
thrust. He took up his writing materials to carry them with him 
into the balcony — for now it was no more use; the letter home, 
the third letter, must be written — and as he did so he went on 
whipping up his anger, muttering to himself about this windbag 
and logic chopper, who meddled with matters that were no con- 
cern of his, and chirruped to the girls in the street. He felt quite 
disinclined to the effort of writing, the organ-grinder had put 
him off it altogether, with his innuendo. But no matter what his 
feelings, he must have winter clothing, money, footwear, linen — 
in brief, everything he might have brought with him had he 
known he was coming, not for three short summer weeks, but for 
an indefinite stay which was certain to last for a piece into the 
winter — or rather, considering the notions about time current 
up here, was quite likely to last all the winter. It was this he 
must let them know at home, even if only as a possibility; he 
must tell the whole story, and not put them, or himself, off any 
longer with pretexts. 

In this spirit, then, he wrote, practising the technique he had 
so often seen Joachim practise; with a fountain-pen, in his deck- 
chair, with his knees drawn up and the portfolio laid upon them. 
He wrote upon the letter-paper of the establishment, of which 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


224 

he kept a supply in his table drawer, to James Tienappel, who 
stood closest to him among the three uncles, and asked him to 
pass the news on to the Consul. He spoke of an unfortunate 
occurrence, of suspicions that had proved justified, of the medi- 
cal opinion that it would be best for him to remain where he 
was for a part, perhaps for all of the winter, since cases like his 
often proved more obstinate than those that began more alarm- 
ingly and it was clearly advisable to go after the infection ener- 
getically and root it out once for all. From this point of view, 
he considered, it had been a most fortunate circumstance that 
he had chanced to come here, and been induced to submit to an 
examination, for otherwise he might have remained for some 
time in ignorance of his condition, and been apprised of it later 
and more alarmingly. As for the length of time which would 
probably be required for the cure, they must not be surprised to 
hear the whole winter might easily slip away before his return 
— in short, that he might come down hardly earlier than Joachim. 
Ideas about time were different up here from those ordinarily 
held about the length of stay at the baths, or at an ordinary cure. 
The smallest unit of time, so to speak, was the month, and a single 
month was almost no time at all. 

The weather was cool, he sat in his overcoat, with a rug about 
him, and his hands were cold. At times he looked up from the 
paper which he was covering with these reasonable and sensi- 
ble phrases, at the landscape now so familiar he scarcely saw it 
any more: this extended valley with its retreating succession of 
peaks at the entrance — they looked pale and glassy to-day — 
with its bright and populous floor, which glistened when the sun 
shone full upon it, and its forest-clad or meadowy slopes, whence 
came the sound of cow-bells. He wrote with growing ease, and 
wondered why he had dreaded to write. For as he wrote he felt 
that nothing could be clearer than his presentation of the matter, 
and that there was no doubt it would meet with perfect compre- 
hension at home. A young man of his class and circumstances 
acted for himself when it seemed advisable; he took advantage 
of the facilities which existed expressly for him and his like. 
So it was fitting. If he had taken the journey home, they would 
have made him come back again on hearing his report. He asked 
them to send what things he needed. And at the end he asked to 
have money sent: a monthly cheque of eight hundred marks 
would cover everything. 

He signed his name. It was done. This last letter was exhaus- 
tive, it covered the case; not according to the time-conceptions 



WHIMS OF MERCURIUS 


225 

of down below, but according to those obtaining up here; it as- 
serted Hans Castorp’s freedom. This was his own word, albeit 
not expressed; he would hardly have shaped the syllables even 
in his mind; but he felt the full sense of its meaning, as he had 
come to know it during his stay up here— a sense which had 
little to do with the Settembrinian significance — and his breast 
was shaken with that excited alarm, which swept over him in a 
wave, as it had done before. 

His head was hot with the blood that had gone to it as he 
wrote, his cheeks burned. He took the thermometer from his 
lamp-stand and “ measured,” as though to make use of an op- 
portunity. Mercurius had gone up to ioo°. 

“ Look at that,” he thought; and added a postscript to his letter: 
“ It did strain me rather, after all, to write this. My temperature is 
ioo°. I see that I must be very quiet, for the present. You must 
excuse me if I don’t write often.” Then he lay back, and held up 
his hand toward the light, palm outward, as he had held it be- 
hind the light-screen. But the light of day did not encroach upon 
its living outline; rather it looked more substantial and opaque for 
its background of bright air, only its outer edges were rosily il- 
luminated. This was his living hand, that he was used to see, to 
use, to wash — not that uncanny scaffolding which he had beheld 
through the screen. The analytic grave then opened was closed 
again. 

Whims of Mercurius 

October began as months do: their entrance is, in itself, an un- 
ostentatious and soundless affair, without outward signs and 
tokens; they, as it were, steal in softly and, unless you are keeping 
close watch, escape your notice altogether. Time has no divisions 
to mark its passage, there is never a thunder-storm or blare of 
trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even 
when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells 
and fire off pistols. 

To Hans Castorp the first day of October and the last day of Sep- 
tember were as like as two peas; both were equally cold and un- 
friendly, and those that followed were the same. In the rest-cure 
one used one’s overcoat and both camel’s-hair rugs, not only in 
the evening, but in the day-time. The fingers that held the book 
were stiff and clammy, however the cheeks burned; and Joachim 
was strongly tempted to resort to his fur sack, but resisted, in 
order not to pamper himself thus early in the season. 


226 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


Some days later, however — that is, between the beginning and 
middle of the month — there came another change: a latter sum- 
mer set in, with amazing splendour. The praises of this mountain 
October, which Hans Castorp had heard, were not idly sung. For 
some two and a half weeks all the glories of heaven reigned over 
valley and mountain, one day outvied another in blueness and 
clarity, and the sun burned down with such immediate power that 
everyone felt impelled to don the lightest of wear, muslin frocks 
and linen trousers already put aside. The adjustable canvas parasol 
without a handle was called into requisition, and fitted by its cun- 
ning device of holes and pegs on to the arm of the reclining-chair; 
and even its shelter was felt to be insufficient against the midday 
glare. 

“I’m glad I’m here still, for this,” said Hans Castorp to his 
cousin. “ It has been so wretched at times, and now it is as though 
we had the winter behind us, and only good weather to look for- 
ward to.” He was quite right. There were indeed not many signs 
that pointed to the true state of the calendar; and even those there 
were did not strike the eye. Aside from the few oak-trees that had 
been set out down in the Platz, where they had just managed to 
survive, and long before now had despondently shed their leaves, 
the whole region held no deciduous trees to give the landscape an 
autumnal cast; only the hybrid Alpine alder, which renews its 
soft needles as though they were leaves, showed a wintry bald- 
ness. The other trees of the region, whether towering or stunted, 
were evergreen pines and firs, invincible against the assaults of this 
irregular winter, which might scatter its snow-storms through all 
the months of the year: only the many-shaded, rust-red tone that 
lay over the forest gave notice, despite the glowing sunshine, of a 
declining year. Yet, looking closer, there were the wild flowers, 
speaking, though softly, yet to the same effect; the meadow 
orchis, the bushy aquilegia were no longer in bloom, only the 
gentian and the lowly autumn crocus, bearing witness to the inner 
sharpness of the superficially heated air, that could pierce one to 
the bone as one sat, like a chill in fever, though one glowed out- 
wardly from the ardour of the sun. 

Hans Castorp did not keep inward count of the time, as does the 
man who husbands it, notes its passing, divides and tells and labels 
its units. He had not heeded the silent entry of the tenth month, 
but he was arrested by its appeal to the senses, this glowing heat 
that concealed the frost within and beneath it. It was a sensation 
which, to anything like this degree, he had never before experi- 
enced, and it aroused him to the culinary comparison which he 



WHIMS OF MERCURIUS 


227 


made to Joachim, of an omelette en surprise , holding an ice con- 
cealed within the hot froth of the beaten egg. He often made such 
comments, talking headlong and volubly, as a man does in a 
feverish chill. But between whiles he was silent; we shall not say 
self-absorbed, for his attention was presumably directed outwards, 
though upon a single point. All else, whether of the animate or 
the inanimate world, swam about him in a mist — a mist of his 
own making, which Hofrat Behrens and Dr. Krokowski would 
doubtless have explained as the product of soluble toxins, as the 
befuddled one himself did also, though without having the slight- 
est power or even desire to rid himself of the state they induced. 

For that is an intoxication, by which one is possessed, under the 
influence of which one abhors nothing more than the thought of 
sobriety. It asserts itself against impressions that would weaken its 
force, it will not admit them, it wards them off. Hans Castorp was 
aware, and had even spoken of the fact, that Madame Chauchat’s 
profile was not her strong point, that it was no longer quite youth- 
ful, was even a little sharp. And the consequence? He avoided 
looking at her in profile, he literally closed his eyes when he 
caught that view or her, even at a distance; it pained him. Why? 
Should not reason have leaped to take advantage of the favour- 
able moment to reasert itself? But what do we ask? He grew pale 
with rapture when, tempted by the brilliant weather, she appeared 
at second breakfast in the w 7 hite lace matinee w r hich made her look 
so ravishing — appeared late, accompanied by the banging of the 
door, smiling, her arms raised in a pretty posture, and presented 
herself thus to the dining-room before she glided to her seat. But 
he was enraptured not so much because she looked so charming, 
as because her charm added strength to the sweet intoxication in 
his brain, the intoxication that willed to be, that cared only to be 
justified and nourished. 

An authority of Ludovico Settembrini’s way of thinking might 
have characterized as depravity, as a “ form of depravity,” such a 
lack of good intention. Hans Castorp sometimes pondered over 
the literary things the Italian had said about illness and despair — 
which he had found incomprehensible, or at least pretended to 
himself to find them so. He looked at Clavdia Chauchat — at the 
flaccidity of her back, the posture of her head; he saw her come 
habitually late to table, without reason or excuse, solely out of a 
lack of order and disciplined energy. He saw the same lack when 
she let slam every door through which she passed, when she 
moulded bread pellets at the table, when she gnawed her fingers; 
and he had a suspicion, which he did not put into words, that if 


228 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


she was ill — and that she was, probably incurably, since she had 
been up here so often and so long — her illness was in good part, 
if not entirely, a moral one: as Settembrini had said, neither the 
ground nor the consequence of her “ slackness,” but precisely one 
and the same thing. He recalled the contemptuous gesture of the 
humanist when he spoke of the “ Parthians and Scythians ” in 
whose company he was forced to take the rest-cure. It had been a 
gesture not only of deliberate, but also of natural and instinctive 
disdain; and that feeling was quite comprehensible to Hans Ca- 
storp. Had he not once, who always sat so erect at table, loathed 
and despised the banging of doors, and never, never was tempted 
to gnaw his fingers, because to that end Maria had been given 
him instead, had he not once taken deep offence at the unmannerly 
behaviour of Frau Chauchat, and felt an unconquerable sense of 
superiority when he heard the narrow-eyed one essay to speak his 
mother- tongue? 

The present state of his feelings, however, had put on one side 
any such sentiments as these; it was now the Italian who was the 
object of his irritation, because he, in his benightedness, had 
spoken of Parthians and Scythians and had not meant thereby the 
persons at the “ bad ” Russian table, the shock-headed, linenless 
students, who sat there disputing endlessly in their outlandish 
tongue, which was obviously the only one they knew, and which, 
in its soft, spineless character reminded Hans Castorp of the thorax 
without ribs Hofrat Behrens had described to him. True, the man- 
ners and customs of such people might readily awaken feelings of 
disgust in the breast of a humanist. They ate with their knives, 
and unmentionably messed the front of their blouses. Settembrini 
asserted that one of them, a medical student well on in his train- 
ing, was so ignorant of Latin as not to know, for example, what 
the word vacuum meant. As for the married couple in number 
thirty-two, Hans Castorp’s own daily experience of them was 
such as to render quite credible Frau Stohr’s report, that when the 
bathing-master entered tneir room in the morning for the usual 
massage, they received him lying in bed together. 

All this might well be true. But after all, the distinction between 
“ good ” and “ bad ” was a plain one, it did not exist for nothing. 
Hans Castorp assured himself that he felt only contempt for any 
propagandist of the republic and the hello stile who went about 
with his nose in the air, and calmly — with particular calm, al- 
though at the same time both febrile and fuddled — lumped the 
members of both tables together under the title of Parthians and 
Scythians. Hans Castorp understood only too well the sense in 



WHIMS OF MERCURIUS 


22 9 

which he used it, since he had begun to understand the connexion 
between Frau Chauchat’s illness and her “ slackness.” But as he had 
one day put it to Joachim: one begins by being angry and dis- 
gusted, and then all at once “ something quite different enters in,” 
that has “ nothing to do with moral judgment,” and it is all up 
with your severity; you are simply not at home to pedagogic in- 
fluences, however republican, however eloquent. But, we are im- 
pelled to ask, probably again in the spirit of Ludovico Settembrini, 
what sort of questionable experience is this, which palsies a man’s 
judgment, robs him of all claim to it, or even makes him waive 
that claim, and experience in so doing the abandonment of ecstasy? 
We do not ask its name — for that everyone knows. Our question 
rather refers to its moral quality; and we confess that we do not 
anticipate any very self-confident reply. In Hans Castorp’s case 
its nature was evident in the extent to which he not only ceased to 
exercise his judgment, but even began to experiment for his own 
part and upon his own mortal vesture. He tried, for instance, how 
it would feel to sit at table with his back all relaxed, and discovered 
that it afforded sensible relief to the pelvic muscles. Again, one 
day, instead of punctiliously closing a door behind him, he let it 
slam; and this too he found both fitting and agreeable. It corre- 
sponded to the shoulder-shrug with which Joachim had greeted 
him at the station, and which was so habitual among those up here. 

In brief, our traveller was now over head and ears in love with 
Clavdia Chauchat — we may still use the phrase, since we have 
already obviated any possible misunderstanding on the score of it. 
We have seen that the essence of his passion was something quite 
other than the tender and pensive mood of that oft-quoted ditty: 
rather it was a wild and vagrant variation upon the lovesick lute, 
it was mingled frost and fire, like the state of a fever patient, or the 
October air in these high altitudes. What he actually lacked, in 
fact, was an emotional bridge between two extremes. On the one 
hand his passion dwelt, with an immediacy that left the young man 
pale and staring, upon Frau Chauchat’s knee, the line of her thigh, 
her back, her neck-bone, her arms that pressed together her little 
breasts — in a word, it dwelt upon her body, her idle, accentuated 
body, exaggerated by disease and rendered twice over body . And, 
on the other hand, it was something in the highest degree fleeting 
and tenuous; a thought, nay, a dream, the frightful, infinitely 
alluring dream of a young man whose unspoken, unconscious 
questioning of the universe has received no answer save a hollow 
silence. We have as much right as the next person to our private 
thoughts about the story we are relating; and we would here 


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230 

hazard the surmise that young Hans Castorp would never have 
overstepped so far the limits originally fixed for his stay if to his 
simple soul there might have been vouchsafed, out of the depth 
of his time, any reasonably satisfying explanation of the meaning 
and purpose of man’s life. 

For the rest, his lovesick state afforded him all the joy and all 
the anguish proper to it the world over. The anguish is acute, it 
has, like all anguish, a mortifying element; it shatters the nervous 
system to an extent that takes the breath away, and can wring 
tears from the eyes of a grown man. As for the joys, to do them 
justice, they were manifold, and no less piercing than the anguish, 
though their occasion might be trifling indeed. Almost any mo- 
ment of the Berghof day might bring one forth. For example, 
about to enter the dining-room, Hans Castorp would perceive the 
object of his dreams behind him — an experience clear and simple 
in anticipation, but inwardly ravishing to the point of tears. Their 
eyes meet at close range, his own and her grey-green ones, whose 
slightly oriental shape and position pierce him to the very marrow. 
He is incapable of connected thought, but unconsciously steps 
back to give her precedence through the door. With a half-smile, 
a half-audible “ Merci” she accepts his conventional courtesy and, 
passing him by, enters the room. He stands there, within the aura 
of her personality as it sweeps past, idiotic with happiness at the 
encounter, and at the word which has been uttered by her mouth 
directly for his ear. He follows her, he moves unsteadily to his 
own table and, sinking into his chair, becomes aware that Clavdia, 
as she too takes her place, has turned to look at him. He thinks 
she wears an expression as though musing on their encounter at 
the door. Oh, unbelievable adventure! Oh, joy, rapture, and 
boundless exaltation! Ah, no, this drunkenness of fantastic bliss 
Hans Castorp could never have experienced at the glance of any 
healthy little goose down in the flat-land, to whom he might have, 
calmly, correctly, and with most definite intentions, “ given his 
heart,” and devoted the sentiments described in the song. He 
greets the schoolmistress with feverish sprightliness — she has seen 
the whole thing, and her downy old cheek wears its dusky signal 
— and then bombards Miss Robinson with English conversation, 
so absurdly that she, not versed in the ecstatic, fairly recoils, and 
measures him with mistrustful eyes. 

Another time, as they sit at the evening meal, the serene rays 
of the setting sun fall upon the “ good ” Russian table. The cur- 
tains have been drawn over the window and the verandah door, 
but somewhere there is a little crack, and through it the red 



WHIMS OF MERCURIUS 


231 

gleam finds its way, not hot, but dazzling, and falls upon Frau 
Chauchat’s face, so that she shields it with her hand as she sits 
talking with the concave countryman on her right. It is annoy- 
ing but not serious, nobody troubles about it, probably not even 
the fair one herself. But across the dining-room Hans Castorp 
sees it — quiescent awhile, like the others. He examines the situa- 
tion, follows the course of the ray of light, makes up his mind 
where it enters. It comes from the bay-window in the right-hand 
corner, between the verandah door and the “ bad ” Russian table, 
at a goodish distance from Frau Chauchat ’s place, and almost 
equally far from Hans Castorp’s. Without a word he gets up 
and, serviette in hand, crosses over among the tables, draws the 
cream-coloured curtains so that they lap well over one another, 
convinces himself by a glance over his shoulder that the ray from 
the setting sun is shut out and Frau Chauchat relieved, and with 
an air of perfect equanimity goes back to his place. An observant 
young man, who takes it upon himself to perform a needful 
courtesy neglected by others. But few of them even noticed 
his act; Frau Chauchat, however, instantly felt the relief, and 
turned round, remaining in that position until Hans Castorp had 
resumed his place and, sitting down, looked over at her, when 
she thanked him, with a friendly, rather surprised smile, and a 
bow that was less an inclination than a shoving forward of the head. 
He acknowledged by a bow in his turn. His heart stood stock- 
still, it seemed not to beat. Only after the whole thing was over 
did it begin again, and hammered, and only then did he become 
conscious that Joachim had kept his eyes directed upon his plate. 
Afterwards, too, he realized that Frau Stohr had nudged Dr. 
Blumenkohl in the side, and then looked about at their own and 
other tables, trying to catch people’s eyes. 

All this is the sheerest commonplace; but the commonplace 
becomes remarkable when it springs from remarkable soil. There 
were periods of strain and periods when the tension between them 
beneficently relaxed — though perhaps the tension existed less be- 
tween them than it did in Hans Castorp’s fevered imagination, for 
how far Madame Chauchat was affected we can only guess. In 
these days of fine weather the majority of the guests betook 
themselves to the verandah, after the midday meal, and stood 
about in groups, sunning themselves, for a quarter-hour or so, 
in a scene much like that on the Sunday afternoons of the fort- 
nightly concerts. All these young people, absolutely idle, over- 
fed on a meat and sweet diet, and without exception feverish — 
chattered and laughed, philandered, made eyes. Frau Salomon 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


2 3 2 

from Amsterdam would perch on the balustrade, hard pressed 
on the right by the knees of the thick-lipped Ganser, on the left 
by the Swedish minion — who, it appeared, was quite recovered, 
but extending his cure for a little space before going home. Frau 
litis was apparently a widow; for she had rejoiced only lately 
in the visit of a “ fiance ” — a melancholy, inferior-looking per- 
son, whose presence had not in the least prevented her from 
accepting the attentions of the hook-nosed, fiery-eyed Captain 
Miklosich, him of the waxed mustachios and swelling chest. New 
figures turned up on the terrace: ladies of various nationalities 
from the general rest-halls, and new arrivals since the first of 
October, whom Hans Castorp barely knew by name. Then there 
were cavaliers of Herr Albin’s kidney, monocled youths of seven- 
teen, a spectacled, rosy-faced young Dutchman with a mania for 
collecting postage stamps; certain Greeks, with pomaded hair 
and almond-shaped eyes, inclined to overreach at table; and a 
pair of young dandies who were nicknamed Max and Moritz, and 
bore a great reputation for breaking out of bounds. The hump- 
backed Mexican, whose ignorance of any language save his own 
lent him the facial expression of a deaf person, took endless photo- 
graphs, dragging his tripod from one point to another on the 
terrace. Sometimes the Hofrat would appear, and perform his 
“ stunt ” with the boot-laces. And somewhere in the thick of the 
crowd would lurk solitary the religious devotee from Mann- 
heim; Hans Castorp would watch disgustedly to see his great 
sad eyes take their secret way. 

But to return, by way of example, to some of those strains 
and stresses to which Hans Castorp’s state was prone. Our young 
man was sitting on a painted garden chair, with his back against 
the wall, talking with his cousin, whom he had forced, against 
his will, to come outside; in front of him*, by the balustrade, 
Frau Chauchat stood smoking with her table-mates. He talked 
for her benefit; she turned her back. His thirst for conversation 
was not satisfied by Joachim; he must needs make an acquaint- 
ance— and whose? No other than Hermine Kleefeld’s. He di- 
rected a casual word toward that young lady, then presented 
himself and his cousin by name, and drew up another chair, in 
order to carry on the game. Did she know, he asked, what a 
deuce of a fright she had put him in, at their first encounter, 
when she had whistled him such an inspiriting welcome? He 
did not mind owning that she had accomplished her purpose; 
he had felt as though someone had hit him on the head — she 


WHIMS OF MERCURIUS 


233 

might ask his cousin! He called it an outrage, frightening harm- 
less strangers like that, piping at them with her pneumothorax! 
And so forth and so on. Joachim, quite aware of the role that 
was being forced upon him, sat with his eyes on the ground; 
even Fraulein Kleefeld gradually perceived, from Hans Ca- 
storp’s distraught and wandering eye, that she was being made 
a tool of, and felt piqued accordingly. And still the poor youth 
went on smirking and turning phrases and modulating his voice, 
until at last he actually succeeded in making Frau Chauchat 
turn round and look him in the face. But only for a moment. 
Her Pribislav eyes glided rapidly down his figure, as he sat there 
one knee over the other, with a deliberate insouciance which 
had all the effect of scorn; they paused for a space upon his yellow 
boots, and then carelessly, with perhaps a smile in their depths, 
withdrew. 

It was a bitter, bitter blow. Hans Castorp talked on awhile, 
feverishly. Then, inwardly smitten by the power of that gaze 
upon his boots, he fell silent almost in the middle of a word, 
and lapsed into deep dejection. Fraulein Kleefeld, bored and of- 
fended, went her way. Joachim remarked, not without irrita- 
tion, that perhaps they might go up to the rest-cure now. And a 
broken spirit answered feebly that they might. 

Hans Castorp anguished piteously for two days. Nothing oc- 
curred in that time to be balsam for his smarting wound. What 
had she meant by her look? Why, in the name of reason, had 
she visited him with her scorn? Did she regard him merely as a 
healthy young noodle from down in the flat-land, whose recep- 
tivity was sure to be of the harmless sort; as a guileless, ordi- 
nary chap, who went about laughing and earning his daily 
bread and filling his belly full; as a model pupil m the school 
of life, with no comprehension of anything but the tedious ad- 
vantages of a respectable career? Was he, he asked himself, a 
mere feckless tourist and three-weeks’ guest, or was he a man 
who had made his profession on the score of a moist spot, a 
member of the order, one of those up here, with a good two 
months to his credit — and had not Mercurius only yesterday 
evening climbed up to ioo°? Ah, here, even here, lay the bitter 
drop that overflowed his cup: Mercurius had ceased to mount! 
The fearful depression of these days had a chilling, sobering, 
relaxing effect upon Hans Castorp’s system, which, to his pro- 
found chagrin, displayed itself in a reduced degree of fever, 
scarcely higher than normal. He had the cruel experience of 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


234 

proving to himself that all his anguish, all his dejection, had no 
other result than to separate him still further from Clavdia, and 
from that which was significant in her existence. 

The third day brought the blessed release. It was early upon 
a magnificent October morning, sunny and fresh. The meadows 
were covered with silvery-grey webs. The sun and the waning 
moon both hung high up in a lucent heaven. The cousins were 
abroad earlier than usual, meaning to honour the fine weather 
by extending their morning walk a little further than the pre- 
scribed limits, and continuing the forest path beyond the bench 
by the watercourse. Joachim’s curve, too, had lately shown a 
gratifying decrease; he had accordingly suggested this refreshing 
irregularity, and Hans Castorp had not said no. 

“ We seem to be cured,” he said, “ no fever, free of infection, 
as good as ripe for the world again. Why shouldn’t we have our 
fling? ” They set out with walking-sticks, and hatless — for since 
his “ profession ” Hans Castorp had resigned himself to the pre- 
vailing custom, despite the original assertion of his own contrary- 
minded* conventions. But they had not yet covered the initial 
ascent of the reddish path, had arrived only at about that point 
where the novice had once encountered the pneumatic crew, 
when they saw at some distance ahead of them, slowly mount- 
ing, Frau Chauchat; Frau Chauchat in white, a white sweater and 
white flannel skirt, even white shoes. Her red-blond hair gleamed 
in the morning sun. To be precise, Hans Castorp saw her; Joa- 
chim was made aware of her presence by an unpleasant sensa- 
tion of being dragged and pulled along by his cousin, who had 
started up at a great pace, after having suddenly checked and 
almost stood still on the path. Joachim found the compulsion 
exceedingly annoying. His breath came shorter, he began to 
cough, Hans Castorp, with his eyes on his goal, and his breath- 
ing apparatus apparently in splendid trim, gave little heed; and 
Joachim, having recognized the situation for what it was, drew 
his brows together and kept step for step, feeling it out of the 
question to let his cousin go on alone. 

The lovely morning made Hans Castorp sprightly. And his 
soul, in that period of black depression, had secretly assembled 
its powers. He felt a sure intuition that the moment was come 
to break the ban. He strode on, dragging the panting and re- 
luctant Joachim in his train, and they had as good as overtaken 
Frau Chauchat, at the point where the path grew level and 
turned to the right along the wooded hillock. Here the young 
man slackened his pace, not to be breathless with exertion in the 


WHIMS OF MERCURIUS 


2 35 

moment of carrying out his purpose. And just beyond the bend 
in the path, between mountain and precipice, where the sunlight 
slipped athwart the boughs of the rust-coloured firs, it actually 
fell out, the wonder came to pass, that Hans Castorp, on Joa- 
chim’s left, overtook the fragile fair one, he went by her with a 
manly stride, and then, at the moment when he was beside her, 
on her right, greeted her with a profoundly respectful, hatless 
inclination of the head, and a murmured “ good-morning,” to 
which she answered by a friendly bow, that showed no trace of 
surprise, and a good-morning in her turn. She said it in Hans 
Castorp’s mother-tongue, and smiled with her eyes. And all that 
was something different, something fundamentally and blessedly 
other than that look she had bent upon his boots — it was a gift 
of fortune, an unexampled turn in affairs, a joy well-nigh beyond 
comprehending, it was the blessed release. 

Transported by that word, look, and smile, half blinded by 
his senseless joy, Hans Castorp trod on winged feet, hurrying 
the misused Joachim with him, who uttered not a word, and 
gazed away down the steep. It had been a manoeuvre of a rather 
unscrupulous sort; in Joachim’s eyes, as Hans Castorp well knew, 
it looked very like treachery. Yet it was not the same thing as 
borrowing a lead-pencil of a perfect stranger; one might even 
say it would have been ill-bred to pass by a lady with whom 
one had been for months under the same roof and not salute 
her. They had even been in conversation with her, that time 
in the waiting-room. That was why Joachim could say nothing; 
but Hans Castorp well knew another reason that made his honour- 
loving cousin walk on in silence with averted head, while he 
himself was so supremely happy, so glad all over, at the suc- 
cess of his manoeuvre. Never a man down in the flat-land who 
had “ given his heart ” to some healthy, commonplace little 
goose, been successful in his suit, and experienced all the ortho- 
dox and anticipatory gratifications proper to his state, never could 
such a man be blissfuller, no, not half so blissful, as Hans Castorp 
now over this momentary joy which he had snatched. — And so, 
after a while, he clapped his cousin heartily on the shoulder and 
said: “ Hullo, what’s the matter with you? Isn’t it magnificent 
to-day? Let’s go down to the Kurhaus afterwards, there will 
probably be music. Perhaps they’ll play that thing from Carmen. — 
What’s the matter? Has anything got under your skin? ” 

“ No,” Joachim answered. “ But you look so hot, I’m afraid 
your curve has gone up again.” 

It had. The greeting he had exchanged with Clavdia Chau- 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


236 

chat had overcome the mortifying depression; it was at bottom 
the consciousness of this which had lain at the root of Hans Ca- 
storp’s gratification. Yes, yes, Joachim was right, Mercurius was 
mounting again: when Hans Castorp consulted him, on their 
return from their walk, he had climbed up to 100.4°. 


Encyclop&dic 

If certain insinuations on Herr Settembrini’s part had angered 
Hans Castorp, the annoyance was quite unjustified, as also his 
feeling that the schoolmaster had been spying on him. A blind 
man must have seen how it stood with the youth; he himself 
did nothing to conceal his state, being prevented by a certain 
native and lofty simplicity. He inclined rather to wear his heart 
upon his sleeve, in contrast — if you like, favourable contrast — to 
the devotee from Mannheim, with his thin hair and furtive mien. 
But in general we would emphasize the fact that people in Hans 
Castorp s state regularly feel a craving for self-revelation, an 
impulse to confess themselves, a blind preoccupation with self, 
and a thirst to possess the world of their own emotions, which is 
the more offensive to the sober onlooker, the less sense, reason- 
ableness, or hope there lies in the whole affair. 

How people in this state go about to betray themselves is hard 
to define; but it seems they can neither do nor leave undone 
anything which would not have that effect — doubly so, then, 
in a society like that of the Berghof, where, as the critically 
minded Herr Settembrini once expressed it, people were pos- 
sessed of two ideas, and only two: temperature — and then again 
temperature. By the second temperature he meant preoccupa- 
tion with such questions as, for instance, with whom Frau Consul- 
General Wurmbrandt from Vienna consoled herself for the de- 
fection of Captain Miklosich — whether with the Swedish minion, 
or Lawyer Paravant from Dortmund, or both. Everybody knew 
that the bond between the lawyer and Frau Salomon from Am- 
sterdam, after subsisting for several months, had been broken by 
common consent, and that Frau Salomon had followed the lean- 
ings of her time of life and taken up with callow youth. The 
thick-lipped Ganser from Hermine Kleefeld’s table was for the 
present under her wing; she had taken him “ to have and to hold,” 
as Frau Stohr, in legal parlance, yet not without perspicuity, had 
put it — and thus Lawyer Paravant was free either to quarrel or 
to compound with the Swede over the favours of the Frau Consul- 
General, as seemed to him advisable. 


ENCYCLOPEDIC 


2 37 

These affairs then — in which, of course, the passage along the 
balconies, at the end of the glass partitions, played a considerable 
role — were rife in Berghof society, particularly among the 
fevered youth. They occupied people’s minds, they were a salient 
feature of life up here — and even in saying thus much we are far 
from having precisely defined the position with regard to them. 
Hans Castorp, on this subject, received a singular impression: it 
was that a certain fundamental fact of life, which is conceded 
the world over to be of great importance, and is the fertile theme 
of constant allusion, both in jest and earnest, that this fundamental 
fact of life bore up here an entirely altered emphasis. It was 
weighty with a new weight; it had an accent, a value, and a sig- 
nificance which were utterly novel — and which set the fact itself 
in a light to make it look much more alarming than it had been 
before. Thus far, whenever we have referred to any questionable 
performances at the Berghof, we have done so in what may have 
seemed a light and jesting tone; this without prejudice to our 
real opinion as to the levity, or otherwise, of the performances, 
and solely for the usual obscure reasons which prompt other peo- 
ple to adopt the same. But as a matter of fact, that tone was far 
less usual in our present sphere than it is elsewhere in the world. 
Hans Castorp had considered himself pretty well-informed on the 
subject of the above-named “ fact of life ” which has always and 
everywhere been such a favourite target for shafts of wit. And he 
may have been right in so considering. But now he found that the 
knowledge he had had down in the flat-land had been most inade- 
quate, that he had actually been in a state of simple ignorance. For 
his personal emotions in the time of his stay up here — upon the 
nature of which we have been at some pains to enlighten the 
reader, and which had been at moments so acute as to wring from 
the young man that cry of “ Oh, my God! ” — had opened his 
eyes, had made him capable of hearing and comprehending the 
wild, the overstrained, the namelessly extravagant key in which 
all the “ affairs ” up here were set. Not that, even up here, they did 
not make jests on the subject. But up here, far more than down 
below, jests seemed out of place. They made one’s teeth to chat- 
ter, and took away one’s breath, they betrayed themselves too 
plainly for what they were, a thin and obvious disguise for a hid- 
den extremity — or rather, an extremity impossible to hide. Hans 
Castorp well remembered the mottled pallor of Joachim’s skin 
when, for the first and only time, he had innocently alluded to 
Marusja’s physical charms in the light tone he might have assumed 
at home. He remembered the chill withdrawal of the blood from 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


238 

his own face, the time he had drawn the curtain to shield Madame 
Chauchat from the sun; he knew that he had seen the same look 
on other faces up here, both before and since — he usually re- 
marked it in pairs, as, for example, on the faces of Frau Salomon 
and young Ganser, in the beginning of that relation between them 
so happily described by Frau Stohr. Hans Castorp, we say, re- 
called all this, and realized that under such circumstances it would 
not only have been very hard for him not to “ betray himself,” but 
that the effort would not have been worth his pains. In other 
words, not alone the noble simplicity which did him honour, but 
also a certain sympathetic something in the air urged him not to 
do violence to his feelings or make any secret of his condition. 

Joachim had, as we know, early spoken of the difficulty of 
forming acquaintances up here. In reality this arose chiefly from 
the fact that the cousins formed a miniature group by themselves 
in the society of the cure; but also because the soldierly Joachim 
was bent on nothing else but speedy recovery, and hence objected 
on principle to any closer contact or more social relations with his 
fellow sufferers. It was a good deal this attitude of his that pre- 
vented his cousin from exposing his feelings more freely to the 
world at large. Even so, there came an evening when Joachim 
might behold his cousin the centre of a group composed of Her- 
mine Kleefeld, Ganser, Rasmussen, and the youth of the monocle 
and the finger-nail, making an impromptu speech on the subject 
of Frau Chauchat’s peculiar and exotic facial structure, and be- 
traying himself by his unsteady voice and the excited glitter of his 
eyes, until his listeners exchanged glances, nudged each other, and 
tittered. 

This was painful for Joachim; but the object of their mirth 
seemed insensible to his own self-betrayal; perhaps he felt that his 
state, if concealed and unregarded, would never come to any 
proof. He might count, however, on a general understanding of 
it, and as for the inevitable malice that went with it, he took that 
for granted. People, not only at his own table, but at neighbour- 
ing ones as well, enjoyed seeing him flush and pale when the glass 
door slammed. And even this gratified him; it was like an outward 
confirmation and assertion of his inner frenzy, which seemed tc 
him calculated to forward his affair, and encourage his vague and 
senseless hopes. And so it too made him happy. It came to this: 
that people actually stood about in groups to observe the infatu- 
ated youth — after dinner, on the terrace, or on a Sunday after- 
noon before the porter’s lodge, when the letters were distributed, 
for on that day they were not carried to the patients’ rooms. He 


ENCYCLOPEDIC 


239 

was quite generally known to be very far gone, drunk as a lord 
and not caring who knew it. Frau Stohr, Fraulem Engelhart, Her- 
mine Kleefeld and her friend the tapir-faced girl, Herr Albm, the 
young man with the finger-nail, and perhaps others among the 
guests — would stand together and watch him, with the corners of 
their mouths drawn down, fairly chortling, whilst he, poor wight, 
his face aglow with the heat that from the first had never left him, 
with the glittering eye the gentleman rider’s cough had kindled, 
would gaze, forlornly and frantically smiling, in one certain direc- 
tion. 

It was really splendid of Herr Settembrini, under these circum- 
stances, to go up to Hans Castorp, engage him in conversation, 
and ask him how he did. But it is doubtful whether the young man 
knew how to value and to be grateful for such benevolence and 
freedom from prejudice. One Sunday afternoon the guests were 
thronging about the porter’s lodge, stretching out their hands for 
letters. Joachim was among the foremost; but Hans Castorp had 
stopped in the rear, angling, in the fashion we have described, for a 
look from Clavdia Chauchat. She was standing near by, among a 
group of her table-mates, waiting until the press about the lodge 
should be lightened. It was an hour when all the patients mingled, 
an hour rich in opportunity, and for that reason beloved of our 
young man. The week before, he had stood at the window so 
close to Madame Chauchat that she had in fact jostled him, and 
then, with a little bow, had said: “ Pardon” Whereat he, with a 
feverish presence of mind for which he thanked his stars, had re- 
sponded: “ Pas de quoi , madame.” 

What a blessed dispensation of providence, he thought, that 
there should be a regular Sunday afternoon distribution of letters' 
One might say that he spent the week in waiting for the next 
week’s delivery. And waiting means hurrying on ahead, it means 
regarding time and the present moment not as a boon, but an ob- 
struction; it means making their actual content null and void, by 
mentally overleaping them. Waiting, we say, is long. We might 
just as well — or more accurately — say it is short, since it con- 
sumes whole spaces of time without our living them or making 
any use of them as such. We may compare him who lives on 
expectation to a greedy man, whose digestive apparatus works 
through quantities of food without converting it into anything of 
value or nourishment to his system. We might almost go so far 
as to say that, as undigested food makes man no stronger, so time 
spent in waiting makes him no older. But in practice, of course, 
there is hardly such a thing as pure and unadulterated waiting. 



THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


24O 

Well, the week had been somehow devoured, and the hour for 
the Sunday afternoon post came round again, so like the other it 
seemed never to have changed. Like to that other, what thrilling 
opportunities it offered, what prospects lay concealed within it of 
coming into social relations with Frau Chauchat! Prospects that 
made the heart of young Hans Castorp leap and contract, yet 
without actually issuing in action; for against their doing so lay 
certain obstacles of a nature partly military, partly civil. In other 
words, they were in part the fruit of Joachim’s presence, in part 
the result of Hans Castorp’s own moral compunctions; but also, 
in part, they rested upon his sure intuition that social relations with 
Frau Chauchat, conventional relations, in which one made bows 
and addressed her as madame, and spoke French as far as possible, 
were not the thing at all, were neither necessary nor desirable. He 
stood and watched her laugh as she spoke, precisely as Pribislav 
Hippe had laughed as he spoke, that time in the school yard: she 
opened her mouth rather wide, and her slanting, grey-green eyes 
narrowed themselves to slits above the cheek-bones. That was, to 
be sure, not “ beautiful ”; but when one is in love, the aesthetic 
judgment counts for as little as the moral. 

“ You are expecting dispatches, Engineer? ” 

Only one person could talk like that — and he a disturber of 
Hans Castorp’s peace. The young man started and turned toward 
Herr Settembrini, who stood there smiling the same fine, human- 
istic smile that had sat upon his features when he greeted the new- 
comer, at the bench by the watercourse. Now, as then, it mortified 
Hans Castorp. We know how often, in his dreams, he had sought 
to drive away the organ-grinder as an element offensive to his 
peace; but the waking man is more moral than the sleeping, and, 
as before, the sight of that smile not only had a sobering effect 
upon Hans Castorp, but gave him a sense of gratitude, as though it 
had responded to his need. 

“ Dispatches, Herr Settembrini? Good Lord, I’m no ambassa- 
dor! There might be a postcard there for one of us. My cousin is 
just asking.” 

“ That devil on two sticks in there has handed mine out to me 
already,” Herr Settembrini said, and carried his hand to the side 
pocket of the inevitable pilot coat. “ Interesting matter, I must 
confess, of literary and social import. It is about an encyclopaedic 
publication, to which a philanthropic institution has considered 
me worthy to contribute. Beautiful work, in short — ” Herr Set- 
tembrini interrupted himself. “ But how about you? ” he asked. 
“ How are your affairs going? For instance, how far has the 



ENCYCLOPEDIC 2 4 1 

process of acclimatization gone? You have not been so long 
among us but that one may still put the question.” 

“ Thanks, Herr Settembrini. It still has its difficulties it seems. 
It very likely will have, up to the last day. My cousin told me 
when I came that many people never got used to it. But one gets 
used in time to not getting used.” 

“ A complicated process,” laughed the Italian. “ An odd way of 
settling down in a place. But of course youth is capable of any- 
thing. It doesn’t get used to things, but it strikes roots.” 

“ And after all, this isn’t a Siberian penal settlement.” 

“ No. Ah, you have a fancy for oriental simile. Natural enough. 
Asia surrounds us — wherever one’s glance rests, a Tartar physiog- 
nomy.” Herr Settembrini gave a discreet glance over his shoulder. 
“ Genghis Khan,” he said. “ Wolves of the steppes, snow, vodka, 
the knout, Schlusselburg, Holy Russia. They ought to set up an 
altar to Pallas Athene, here in the vestibule — to ward off the evil 
spell. Look yonder — there is a species of Ivan Ivanovitch without 
a shirt-front, having a disagreement with Lawyer Paravant. Both 
of them want to be in the front rank to receive their letters. I can’t 
tell which of them is in the right, but, for my part, Lawyer Para- 
vant fights under the aegis of the goddess. He is an ass, of course; 
but at least he knows some Latin.” 

Hans Castorp laughed - a thing Herr Settembrini never did. 
One could not imagine him laughing heartily; he never got fur- 
ther than the fine, dry crisping of the corner of his mouth. He 
looked at the laughing young man, and presently asked: “ Have 
you received your diapositive? ” 

“ I have received it,” Hans Castorp weightily affirmed.' Just 
the other day. Here it is,” and he felt for it in his inner breast 
pocket. 

“ Ah, you carry it in a case. Like a certificate, as it were — a sort 
of membership card. Very good. Let me see it.” And Herr Settem- 
brini held it against the light, between the thumb and forefinger of 
his left hand; a little glass plate framed in strips of black paper. The 
gesture was a common one up here, one often saw it. His face, 
with the black almond-shaped eyes, displayed a slight grimace as 
he did so, but whether this happened in the effort to see more 
clearly or for other causes, he did not permit it to appear. 

“ Yes, yes,” he said, after a while. “ Here is your identity card. 
Thanks very much,” and he handed the plate back to Hans Castorp 
over his shoulder, without looking. 

“ Did you see the strands? ” asked Hans Castorp. And the 
nodules? ” 



THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


242 

“ You know,” Herr Settembrini answered him very deliber- 
ately, “ my opinion of these productions. You know too that those 
spots and shadows there are very largely of physiological origin. 
I have seen a hundred such pictures, looking very like this of 
yours; the decision as to whether they offered definite proof or 
not was left more or less to the discretion of the person looking 
at them. I speak as a layman, but a layman of a good many years’ 
experience.” 

“ Does your own look much worse than this one? ” 

“ Rather worse. I am aware, however, that our lords and mas- 
ters do not base any diagnosis on the evidence of these toys alone. 
Then you purpose stopping the winter up here with us? ” 

“Yes — Lord knows — I am beginning to get used to the idea of 
not going back until my cousin does.” 

“ Getting used, that is, to not getting used — you put that very 
wittily. I hope you have received supplies from home — winter 
clothing, stout foot-gear? ” 

“ Everything — all in the proper order. I informed my relatives, 
and our housekeeper sent me everything by express delivery. I 
shall do nicely now.” 

“ I am relieved. But hold — you need a bag, a fur sack! What 
are we thinking of? This late summer is treacherous — it can turn 
to winter inside an hour. You will be spending the coldest months 
up here.” 

“ Yes, the sleeping-sack,” Hans Castorp said. “ That is a requi- 
site, I suppose. It had crossed my mind that we must be going 
down to the Platz one of these days soon to buy one. One never 
needs the thing again, of course — but even for the five or six 
months it is worth while.’’ 

“ It is, it is. — Engineer,” said Herr Settembrini in a low voice, 
coming close to the young man as he addressed him, “ don’t you 
know there is something frightful in the way you fling the months 
about? Frightful because unnatural, inconsistent with your char- 
acter; it is due solely to the facility of your time of life. Ah, the 
fatal facility of youth! It is the despair of the teacher, for its 
proneness to display itself in the wrong direction. I beg you, my 
young friend, not to adopt the phrases current up here, but to 
speak the language of the European culture native to you. Up here 
there is too much Asia. It is not without significance that the place 
is full of Muscovite and Mongolian types. These people — ” Herr 
Settembrini motioned with his chin over his shoulder — “ do not 
put yourself in tune with them, do not be infected with their ideas; 
rather set yourself against them, oppose your nature, your higher 



ENCYCLOPEDIC 


2 4 ? 

nature against them; cling to everything which to you is by nature 
and tradition holy, as a son of the godlike West, a son of civiliza- 
tion: and, for example, time. This barbaric lavishness with time is 
in the Asiatic style; it may be a reason why the children of the East 
feel so much at home up here. Have you never remarked that 
when a Russian says four hours, he means what we do when w e 
say one? It is easy to see that the recklessness of these people 
where time is concerned may have to do with the space concep- 
tions proper to people of such endless territory. Great space, much 
time — they say, in fact, that they are the nation that has time and 
can wait. We Europeans, we cannot. We have as little time as our 
great and finely articulated continent has space, we must he as 
economical of the one as of the other, w r e must husband them, En- 
gineer! Take our great cities, the centres and foci of civilization, 
the crucibles of thought! Just as the soil there increases in value, 
and space becomes more and more precious, so, in the same meas- 
ure, does time. Carpe diem! That was the song of a dweller in a 
great city. Time is a gift of God, given to man that he might use it 
— use it, Engineer, to serve the advancement of humanity.” 

Whatever difficulty, if any, his phrases offered Herr Settem- 
brini’s Mediterranean palate, he brought them out with a clarity, 
a euphony, one might almost say a plasticity, that was truly re- 
freshing. Hans Castorp made no answer save the short, stiff, em- 
barrassed bow of a pupil receiving a reprimand. What could he 
have said? Herr Settembrini had delivered a private lecture, almost 
whispered it into his ear, with his back to the rest of the people in 
the room; it had been so pointed, so unsocial, so little conversable 
in its nature, that merely to commend its eloquence seemed lack- 
ing in tact. One does not tell a schoolmaster that he has expressed 
himself well. Hans Castorp, indeed, had done so orxe or twice in 
the early days of their acquaintance, probably from an instinct to 
preserve the social equilibrium; but the humanist’s utterances had 
never before reached quite such a didactic pitch. There was noth- 
ing for it but to pocket the admonition, feeling as embarrassed as 
a schoolboy at so much moralizing. Moreover, one could see by 
Herr Settembrini’s expression that he had not finished his train of 
thought. He still stood so close to Hans Castorp that the young 
man was constrained to bend a little backwards; and his black 
eyes gazed fixedly into the other’s face. 

“You suffer, Engineer,” he went on. “You are like one dis- 
traught — who could help seeing it ? But your attitude tow ard suf- 
fering can be a European attitude; it should not be the oriental, 
which in its soft abandonment inclines so readily to seek this spot. 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


2 44 

The oriental attitude toward suffering is one of pity and a bound* 
less patience — that cannot, it ought not to be ours, to be yours! 
— Look — we were speaking of what the post had brought us, look 
at these! Or better, come with me, it is impossible here — let us 
withdraw, and I will disclose to you certain matters. Come with 
me! ” And turning, he drew Hans Castorp away, and they entered 
one of the small reception-rooms, the first on the right next the 
vestibule, which stood empty. It was furnished as a reading- and 
writing-room, with oak panelling and a light, vaulted ceiling, book- 
cases, a centre table covered with newspapers in holders and sur- 
rounded with seats, and writing appurtenances arranged in the 
bay-windows. Herr Settembrini advanced as far as the neighbour- 
hood of one of the windows, Hans Castorp followed. The door re- 
mained open. 

The Italian sought the baggy side pocket of his pilot coat, and 
drew thence with impetuous hand a bundle of papers in a large, 
already opened envelope. Its contents — various printed matter, 
and a sheet of writing — he ran through his fingers under Hans 
Castorp’s eye. 

“These papers,” he said, “bear the stamp, in French, of the 
International League for the Organization of Progress. I have 
them from Lugano, where there is an office of a branch of the 
League. You inquire after its principles, its scope? I will define 
them for you, in two words. The League for the Organization of 
Progress deduces from Darwinian theory the philosophic concept 
that man’s profoundest natural impulse is in the direction of self- 
realization. From this it follows that all those who seek satisfaction 
of this impulse must become co-labourers in the cause of human 
progress. Many are those who have responded to the call; there is 
a considerable membership, in France, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and 
in Germany itself. I myself have the honour of having my name 
inscribed on the roll. A comprehensive and scientifically executed 
programme has been drawn up, embracing all the projects for 
human improvement conceivable at the moment. We are study- 
ing the problem of our health as a race, and the means for com- 
bating the degeneration which is a regrettable accompanying 
phenomenon of our increasing industrialization. The League envis- 
ages the founding of universities for the people, the resolution 
of the class conflict by means of all the social ameliorations which 
recommend themselves for the purpose, and finally the doing 
away with national conflicts, the abolition of war through the de- 
velopment of international law. You perceive that the objects 
toward which the League directs its efforts are ambitious and 


ENCYCLOPAEDIC 


245 

broad in their scope. Several international periodicals are evidence 
of its activities — monthly reviews, which contain articles in three 
or four languages on the subject of the progressive evolution of 
civilized humanity. Numerous local groups have been established 
in the various countries; it is expected that they will exert an edify- 
ing and enlightening influence by means of discussion evenings 
and appropriate Sunday observances. Above all, the League will 
strive its utmost to aid with the material at its disposal the political 
party of progress in every country. You follow me, Engineer^ 5 ” 

“ Absolutely,” Hans Castorp replied, with precipitation. He 
had, as he spoke, the feeling of a man who finds himself slipping, 
but for the moment contrives to keep his feet. 

Herr Settembrini appeared satisfied. “ I assume that these are 
new and surprising ideas to you? ” 

“ Yes, I confess this is the first time I have heard of these — these 
endeavours.” 

“ Ah,” Settembrini murmured, “ ah, if you had only heard of 
them earlier! But perhaps it is not yet too late. These circulars — 
you would like to know what they say? Listen. Last spring a 
formal meeting of the League was called, at Barcelona. You are 
aware that that city can boast of a quite special affinity with pro- 
gressive political ideas. The congress sat for a week, with ban- 
quets and festivities. I wanted to go — good God, I yearned to be 
there and take part in the deliberations. But that scurvy rascal of a 
Hofrat forbade me on pain of death, so — well, I was afraid I 
should die, and I didn’t go. I was in despair, as you may imagine, 
over the trick my unreliable health had played me. Nothing is 
more painful than to be prevented by our physical, our animal 
nature from being of service to reason. My satisfaction, therefore, 
over this communication from Lugano is the more lively. You are 
curious to know what it says? I can imagine. But first, a few brief 
explanations: the League for the Organization of Progress, mind- 
ful of its task of furthering human happiness — in other words, of 
combating human suffering by the available social methods, to the 
end of finally eliminating it altogether; mindful also of the fact 
that this lofty task can only be accomplished by the aid of so- 
ciology, the end and aim of which is the perfect State, the League, 
in session at Barcelona, determined upon the publication of a series 
of volumes bearing the general title: The Sociology of Suffering. 
It should be the aim of the series to classify human suffering ac- 
cording to classes and categories, and to treat it systematically and 
exhaustively. You ask what is the use of classification, arrange- 
ment, systematization? I answer you: order and simplification are 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


246 

the first steps toward the mastery of a subject — the actual enemy 
is the unknown. We must lead the human race up out of the primi- 
tive stages of fear and patient stupidity, and set its feet on the path 
of conscious activity. We must enlighten it upon two points: first, 
that given effects become void when one first recognizes and then 
removes their causes; and second, that almost all individual suffer- 
ing is due to disease of the social organism. Very well; this is the 
object of the Sociological Pathology. It will be issued in some 
twenty folio volumes, treating every species of human suffering, 
from the most personal and intimate to the great collective strug- 
gles arising from the conflicting interests of classes and nations; it 
will, in short, exhibit the chemical elements whose combination 
in various proportions results in all the ills to which our human 
flesh is heir. The publication will in every case take as its norm the 
dignity and happiness of mankind, and seek to indicate the meas- 
ures and remedies calculated to remove the cause of each devia- 
tion. Famous European specialists, physicians, psychologists, and 
economists will share in the composition of this encyclopaedia of 
suffering, and the general editorial bureau at Lugano will act as 
the reservoir to collect all the articles which shall flow into it. I 
can read in your eyes the question as to what my share is to be in 
all these activities. Hear me to the end. This great work will not 
neglect the belletrist in so far as he deals with human suffering: a 
volume is projected which shall contain a compilation and brief 
analysis of such masterpieces of the world’s literature as come into 
question by depicting one or other kind of conflict — for the con- 
solation and instruction of the suffering. This, then, is the task 
entrusted to your humble servant, in the letter you see here.” 

“ You don’t say, Herr Settembrini! Allow me to offer you my 
heartiest congratulations! That is a magnificent commission, just 
in your line, I should think. No wonder the League thought of 
you! And what joy you must feel to aid in the elimination of 
human suffering! ” 

“ It is a work very broad in its scope,” Herr Settembrini said 
thoughtfully, “ and will require much consideration and wide 
reading. Especially,” he added, and his gaze seemed to lose itself 
in the immensity of his task, “ since literature has regularly chosen 
to depict suffering, and even second- and third-rate masterpieces 
treat of it in one form or another. But what of that? So much the 
better! However comprehensive the work may be, it is at least of 
a nature that will permit me to carry it on, if needs must, even 
in this accursed place — though I hope I need not be here long 
enough to bring it to a conclusion. That is something,” he said, 



ENCYCLOPEDIC 


2 47 

moving closer to Hans Castorp, and subduing his voice nearly to 
a whisper, “ that is something which can hardly be said of the 
duties nature lays upon you, Engineer! This is what I wanted 
to bring out, this is the word of warning I have been trying to 
utter. You know what admiration I feel for your profession. But 
as it is a practical, not an intellectual calling, you are differently 
situated from myself, in that you can only pursue it down in the 
world — only there can you be a true European, only there can 
you actively fight suffering, improve the time, further progress, 
with your own weapons and in your own way. If 1 have told you 
of the task that has fallen to my lot, it was only to remind you, 
only to recall you to yourself, only to clarify certain conceptions 
of vours which the atmospheric conditions up here were obviously 
beginning to becloud. 1 would urge it upon you: hold yourself 
upright, preserve your self-respect, do not give ground to the un- 
known. Flee from this sink of iniquity, this island of Circe, whereon 
you are not Odysseus enough to dwell in safety. You will be going 
on all fours — already you are inclining toward your forward 
extremities, and presently you will begin to grunt — have a care! ” 
The humanist had uttered these admonitions in the same low 
voice, shaking his head impressively. He finished with drawn brows 
and eyes directed toward the ground. To answer him slightly or 
jestingly, as Hans Castorp would once have done, was out of the 
question. The young man weighed that possibility for a second, 
standing with lowered lids. Then he lifted his shoulders and spoke, 
no louder than Herr Settembrini: “ What shall I do? ” 

“ What I told you.” 

“ You mean — go away? ” 

Herr Settembrini was silent. 

“ What you mean to say is that I should leave for homer ^ 

“ It was the advice I gave you on the first evening, Engineer. 
“Yes — and then I was free to do so, though it seemed to me 
silly to throw up the sponge just because the air up here put me 
about a bit. But now it is a rather different state of affairs: I have 
been examined, and Hofrat Behrens told me in so many words that 
it would be no good my going home, I should only have to come 
back again; and that if I stopped down there, the whole lobe 
would be at the devil before you could say Jack Robinson. ^ 

“ I know; and now you have the evidence in your pocket. 

“ You say that so ironically - with the right kind of irony, ot 
course, that cannot for a moment be misunderstood, the direct 
and classic device of oratory — you see, I remember t e t ings 
you say. But do you mean that after you have seen this photograp , 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


248 

after the x-ray and Behrens’s diagnosis, you take it upon your- 
self to advise me to go home? ” 

Settembrini hesitated for a second. Then he drew himself up, 
and directed the gaze of his black eyes full upon Har^s Castorp’s 
face. He answered, with an emphasis not quite without theatrical 
effect: “ Yes, Engineer, I take it upon myself.” 

But Hans Castorp’s bearing too had stiffened. He stood with 
his heels together, and looked straight at Herr Settembrini in his 
turn. This time it was a duel. Hans Castorp stood his ground. 
Influences from not far off gave him strength. Here was a school- 
master — but yonder was a woman with narrow eves. He made no 
apologies for his words, he did not beg Herr Settembrini not to 
take offence; he answered: “ Then you are more prudent for your- 
self than for others. You did not go to Barcelona in the face of the 
doctor’s orders. You were afraid of death, and you stopped up 
here.” 

To a certain point Herr Settembrini’s pose was undeniably 
shaken; his smile, as he answered, was slightly forced. 

“ I know how to value a ready answer — even though your logic 
smacks of sophistry. It would disgust me to enter the lists in the 
sort of rivalry that is too current up here; otherwise I might reply 
that my case is far more serious than yours — so much more, in 
fact, that it is only by artificial means, almost by deliberate self- 
deception, that I can keep alive the hope of leaving this place and 
having sight of the world below before I die. In the moment when 
that hope can no longer be decently sustained, in that moment I 
shall turn my back on this establishment, and take private lodgings 
somewhere in the valley. That will be sad; but as the sphere of my 
labours is the freest, the least material in the world, the change 
cannot prevent me from resisting the forces of disease and serving 
the cause of humanity, up to my latest breath. The difference be- 
tween us, in this respect, I have already pointed out to you. En- 
gineer, you are not the man to assert your better self in these sur- 
roundings. I saw it at our first meeting. You reproach me with not 
having gone to Barcelona. I submitted to the prohibition, not to 
destroy myself untimely. But I did so with the most stringent 
reservations; my spirit protested in pride and anguish against the 
dictates of my wretched body. Whether that protest survives in 
you, as you comply with the behests of our powers that be — 
whether it is not rather the body, the body and its evil propensities, 
to which you lend a ready ear — ” 

“ What have you against the body? ” interrupted Hans Castorp 
suddenly, and looked at him with wide blue eyes, the whites of 


ENCYCLOPAEDIC 


249 

which were veined with blood. He was giddy with his own 
temerity and showed as much. — Whatever am I saying? he 
thought. I’m getting out of my depth. But I won’t give way; now I 
have begun, I won’t give him the last word if I can help it. Of course 
he will have it anyhow, but never mind, I will make the most of 
it while I can. — He enlarged upon his objection: “ But you are a 
humanist, are you not? What can you have to say against the 
body? ” 

Settembrini’s smile this time was unforced and confident. 
“ 4 What have you against analysis? ’ ” he quoted, with his head on 
one side. “ 4 Are you down on analysis? ’ You will always find 
me ready to answer you, Engineer,” he said, with a bow and a 
sweeping downward motion of the hand, 44 particularly when your 
opposition is spirited; and you parry not without elegance. Human- 
ist— yes, certainly, I am a humanist. You could never convict me 
of ascetic inclinations. I affirm, honour, and love the body, as I 
protest I affirm, honour, and love form, beauty, freedom, gaiety, 
the enjoyment of life. I represent the world, the interest of this 
life, against a sentimental withdrawal and negation, classicism 
against romanticism. I think my position is unequivocal. But there 
is one power, one principle, which commands my deepest assent, 
my highest and fullest allegiance and love; and this power, this 
principle, is the intellect. However much I dislike hearing that 
conception of moonshine and cobwebs people call ‘ the soul ’ 
played off against the body, yet, within the antithesis of body and 
mind, the body is the evil, the devilish principle, for the body is 
nature, and nature — within the sphere, I repeat, of her antagonism 
to the mind, and to reason — is evil, mystical and evil. 4 You are a 
humanist? ’ By all means I am a humanist, because I am a friend ol 
mankind, like Prometheus, a lover of humanity and human no- 
bility. That nobility is comprehended in the mind, in the reason, 
and therefore you will level against me in vain the reproach of 
Christian obscurantism — ” 

Hans Castorp demurred. 

44 You will,” Herr Settembrini persisted, 44 level this reproach 
in vain, if humanistic pride one day learns to feel as a debasement 
and disgrace the fact that the intellect is bound up with the body 
and with nature. Did you know that the great Plotinus is said to 
have made the remark that he was ashamed to have a body ? asked 
Settembrini. He seemed eager for a reply, and Hans Castorp was 
constrained to confess that this was the first he had heard of it. 

44 We have it from Porphyrius. An absurd remark, if you like. 
But the absurd is the intellectually honourable; and nothing can 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


25O 

be more pitiable than the reproach of absurdity, levelled against 
the mind as it asserts its dignity against nature, and refuses to 
abdicate before her. — Have you heard of the Lisbon earthquake, 
Engineer? ” 

“ An earthquake? No — I see no newspapers up here — ” 

“ You misunderstand me. En passant, let me say it is a pity, and 
very indicative of the spirit of this place, that you neglect to read 
the papers. But you misunderstand me, the convulsion of nature 
to which I refer is not modern. It took place some hundred and 
fifty years ago.” 

“ I see. Oh, wait — I have it. I have read that Goethe said to his 
servant, that night in his bedchamber — ” 

“ No, it was not of that I was speaking,” Settembrini interrupted 
him, closing his eyes, and shaking his small sallow hand in the 
air. “ Besides, you are confusing two catastrophes. You are think- 
ing of the earthquake of Messina. I have in mind the one that 
visited Lisbon in the year 1755.” 

“ Pardon.” 

“ Well, Voltaire was outraged by it.” 

“ Outraged? That is — how do you mean? ” 

“ He rebelled. Yes. He declined to accept that brutal fatwm et 
factum. His spirit refused to abdicate before it. He protested in 
the name of reason and the intellect against that scandalous dere- 
liction of nature, to which were sacrificed thousands of human 
lives, and three-quarters of a flourishing city. You are astonished? 
You smile? You may well be astonished; but as for smiling, give 
me leave to tell you it is out of place. Voltaire’s attitude was that 
of a worthy descendant of those old Gauls that shot their arrows 
against the heavens. There, Engineer, you have the hostility the 
intellect feels against nature, its proud mistrust, its high-hearted in- 
sistence upon the right to criticize her and her evil, reason-denying 
power. Nature is force; and it is slavish to suffer force, to abdicate 
before it — to abdicate, that is, inwardly. And there too you have 
the humanistic position which runs not the slightest risk of in- 
volving itself in contradictions, or of relapsing into churchly hy- 
pocrisy, when it sees in the body the antagonist, the representative 
of the evil principle. The contradiction you imagine you see is at 
bottom always the same. ‘ What have you against analysis? ’ Noth- 
ing — when it serves the cause of enlightenment, freedom, prog- 
ress. Everything when it is pervaded by the horrible haut gout of 
the grave. And thus too with the body. We are to honour and 
uphold the body when it is a question of emancipation, of beauty, 
of freedom of thought, of joy, of desire. We must despise it in so 



HUMANIORA 


2 5 l 

far as it sets itself up as the principle of gravity and inertia, when 
it obstructs the movement toward light; we must despise it in so 
far as it represents the principle of disease and death, in so far as 
its specific essence is the essence of perversity, of decay, sensuality, 
and shame.” 

These last words Settembrini had uttered standing close to Hans 
Castorp, very rapidly and tonelessly, as though to make an end 
of the subject. Succour was nigh for the youth: Joachim entered 
the reading-room, with two postcards in his hand. The Italian 
broke off; and the dexterity with which he altered his tone for 
one in a lighter and fitting social key was not lost upon his pupil — 
if so Hans Castorp may be called. 

“ There you are, Lieutenant! Have you been looking for your 
cousin? I must apologize; we had fallen into conversation — if I 
am not mistaken, we have even had a slight disagreement. He is 
not a bad reasoner, your cousin, a by no means contemptible an- 
tagonist in an argument — when he takes the notion.” 

Humaniora 

Hans Castorp and Joachim Ziemssen, arrayed in white trousers 
and blue blazers, were sitting in the garden after dinner. It was 
another of those much-lauded October days: bright without be- 
ing heavy, hot and yet with a tang in the air. The sky above the 
valley was a deep southern blue and the pastures beneath, with 
the cattle tracks running across and across them, still a lively green. 
From the rugged slopes came the sound of cowbells; the peaceful, 
simple, melodious tintinnabulation came floating unbroken through 
the quiet, thin, empty air, enhancing the mood of solemnity that 
broods over the valley heights. 

The cousins were sitting on a bench at the end of the garden, in 
front of a semi-circle of young firs. The small open space lay at the 
north-west of the hedged-in platform, which rose some fifty 
yards above the valley, and formed the foundations of the Berghof 
building. They were silent. Hans Castorp was smoking. He was 
also wrangling inwardly with Joachim, who had not wanted to 
join the society on the verandah after luncheon, and had drawn 
his cousin against his will into the stillness and seclusion of the 
garden, until such time as they should go up to their balconies. 
That was behaving like a tyrant — when it came to that, they were 
not Siamese twins, it was possible for them to separate, if their 
inclinations took them in opposite directions. Hans Castorp was 
not up here to be company for Joachim, he was a patient himsel . 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


25 2 

Thus he grumbled on, and could endure to grumble, for had he not 
Maria? He sat, his hands in his blazer pockets, his feet in brown 
shoes stretched out before him, and held the long, greyish cigar 
between his lips, precisely in the centre of his mouth, and droop- 
ing a little. It was in the first stages of consumption, he had not 
yet knocked off the ash from its blunt tip; its aroma was peculiarly 
grateful after the heavy meal just enjoyed. It might be true that 
in other respects getting used to life up here had mainly consisted 
in getting used to not getting used to it. But for the chemistry 
of his digestion, the nerves of his mucous membrane, which had 
been parched and tender, inclined to bleeding, it seemed that the 
process of adjustment had completed itself. For imperceptibly, in 
the course of these nine or ten weeks, his organic satisfaction in 
that excellent brand of vegetable stimulant or narcotic had been 
entirely restored. He rejoiced in a faculty regained, his mental 
satisfaction heightened the physical. During his time in bed he had 
saved on the supply of two hundred cigars which he had brought 
with him, and some of these were still left; but at the same time 
with his winter clothing from below, there had arrived another 
five hundred of the Bremen make, which he had ordered through 
Schalleen to make quite sure of not running out. They came in 
beautiful little varnished boxes, ornamented in gilt with a globe, 
several medals, and an exhibition building with a flag floating 
above it. 

As they sat, behold, there came Hofrat Behrens through the 
garden. He had taken his midday meal in the dining-hall to-day, 
folding his gigantic hands before his place at Frau Salomon’s 
table. After that he had probably been on the terrace, making 
the suitable personal remark to each and everybody, very likely 
displaying his trick with the bootlaces for such of the guests as 
had not seen it. Now he came lounging through the garden, wear- 
ing a check tail-coat, instead of his smock, and his stiff hat on 
the back of his head. He too had a cigar m his mouth, a very black 
one, from which he was puffing great white clouds of smoke. His 
head and face, with the over-heated purple cheeks, the snub 
nose, watery blue eyes, and little clipped moustache, looked small 
in proportion to the lank, rather warped and stooping figure, .and 
the enormous hands and feet. He was nervous; visibly started 
when he saw the cousins, and seemed embarrassed over the neces- 
sity of passing them. But he greeted them in his usual picturesque 
and expansive fashion, with “ Behold, behold, Timotheus! ” go- 
ing on to invoke the usual blessings on their metabolisms, while 


HUMANIORA 253 

he prevented their rising from their seats, as they would have done 
in his honour. 

“ Sit down, sit down. No formalities with a simple man like 
me. Out of place too, you being my patients, both of you. Not 
necessary. No objection to the status quo” and he remained stand- 
ing before them, holding the cigar between the index and middle 
fingers of his great right hand. 

“ How’s your cabbage-leaf, Castorp? Let me see, I’m a connois- 
seur. That’s a good ash — what sort of brown beauty have you 
there? ” 

“ Maria Mancini, Postre de Bcmquett , Bremen, Herr Hof rat. 
Costs little or nothing, nineteen pfennigs in plain colours — but a 
bouquet you don’t often come across at the price. Sumatra-Havana 
wrapper, as you see. I am very wedded to them. It is a medium 
mixture, very fragrant, but cool on the tongue. Suits it to leave 
the ash long, I don’t knock it off more than a couple of times. She 
has her whims, of course, has Maria; but the inspection must be 
very thorough, for she doesn’t vary much, and draws perfectly 
even. May I offer you one 5 ” 

“ Thanks, we can exchange.” And they drew out their cases. 

“ There’s a thorough-bred for you,” the Hofrat said, as he 
displayed his brand. “ Temperament, you know, juicy, got some 
guts to it. St. Felix, Brazil — I’ve always stuck to this sort. Regu- 
lar 4 begone, dull care,’ burns like brandy, has something ful- 
minating toward the end. But you need to exercise a little cau- 
tion— can’t light one from the other, you know — more than a 
fellow stand. However, better one good mouthful than any 
amount of nibbles.” 

They twirled their respective offerings between tbeit fingers, 
felt connoisseur-like the slender shapes that possessed, or so one 
might think, some organic quality of life, with their ribs formed 
by the diagonal parallel edges of the raised, here and there porous 
wrapper, the exposed veins that seemed to puisate, the smah in- 
equalities of the skin, the play of light on planes and edges. 

Hans Castorp expressed it: “ A cigar like that is alive — it 
breathes. Fact. Once, at home, I had the idea of keeping Maria 
in an air-tight tin box, to protect her from damp. Would you 
believe it, she died! Inside of a week she perished — nothing but 
leathery corpses left.” 

They exchanged experiences upon the best way to keep cigars 
particularly imported ones. The Hofrat loved them, he would 
have smoked nothing but heavy Havanas, but they did not suit 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


254 

him. He told Hans Castorp about two little Henry Clays he had 
once taken to his heart, in an evening company, which had cofne 
within an ace of putting him under the sod. 

“ I smoked them with my coffee,” he said, “ and thought no more 
of it. But after a while it struck me to wonder how I felt — and I 
discovered it was like nothing on earth. I don’t know how I got 
home — and once there, well, this time, my son, I said to myself, 
you’re a goner. Feet and legs like ice, you know, reeking with cold 
sweat, white as a table-cloth, heart going all ways for Sunday — 
sometimes just a thread of a pulse, sometimes pounding like a trip- 
hammer. Cerebration phenomenal. I made sure I was going to 
toddle off — that is the very expression that occurred to me, be- 
cause at the time I was feeling as jolly as a sand-boy. Not that I 
wasn’t in a funk as well, because I was — I was just one large blue 
funk all over. Still, funk and felicity aren’t mutually exclusive, 
everybody knows that. Take a chap who’s going to have a girl for 
the first time in his life; he is in a funk too, and so is she, and yet 
both of them are simply dissolving with felicity. I was nearly dis- 
solving too — my bosom swelled with pride, and there I was, on the 
point of toddling off; but the Mylendonk got hold of me and per- 
suaded me it was a poor idea. She gave me a camphor injection, 
applied ice-compresses and friction — and here I am, saved for hu- 
manity.” 

The Hofrat’s large, goggling blue eyes watered as he told this 
story. Hans Castorp, seated in his capacity of patient, looked up at 
him with an expression that betrayed mental activity. 

“ You paint sometimes, don’t you, Herr Hofrat? ” he asked 
suddenly. 

The Hofrat pretended to stagger backwards. “ What the deuce! 
What do you take me for, youngster? ” 

“ I beg your pardon. I happened to hear somebody say so, and 
it just crossed my mind.” 

“ Well, then, I won’t trouble to lie about it. We’re all poor crea- 
tures. I admit such a thing has happened. Anctf io sono pittore , as 
the Spaniard used to say.” 

“ Landscape? ” Hans Castorp asked him succinctly, with the 
air of a connoisseur, circumstances betraying him to this tone. 

“ As much as you like,” the Hofrat answered, swaggering out 
of sheer self-consciousness. “ Landscape, still life, animals — chap 
like me shrinks from nothing.” 

“ No portraits? ” 

“ I’ve even thrown in a portrait or so. Want to give me an 
order? ” 



HUMANIORA 255 

“ Ha ha! No, but it would be very kind of you to show us your 
pictures some time — we should enjoy it.” 

Joachim looked blankly at his cousin, but then hastened to add 
his assurances that it would be very kind indeed of the Hofrat. 

Behrens was enchanted at the flattery. He grew red with pleas- 
ure, his tears seemed this time actually on the point of falling. 

“ With the greatest pleasure,” he cried. “ On the spot if you like. 
Come on, come along with me, I’ll brew us a Turkish coffee in 
my den.” 

He pulled both young men from the bench and walked be- 
tween them arm in arm, down the gravel path which led, as they 
knew, to his private quarters in the north-west wing of tH build- 
ing. 

“ I’ve dabbled a little in that sort of thing myself,” Hans Castorp 
explained. 

“ You don’t say! Gone in for it properly — oils? ” 

“ Oh, no, I never went further than a water-colour or so. A 
ship, a sea-piece, childish efforts. But I’m fond of painting, and so 
I took the liberty — ” 

Joachim in particular felt relieved and enlightened by this ex- 
planation of his cousin’s startling curiosity; it was in fact more on 
his account than on the Hofrat’s that Hans Castorp had offered it. 
They reached the entrance, a much simpler one than the impres- 
sive portal on the drive, with its flanking lanterns. A pair of curv- 
ing steps led up to the oaken house door, which the Hofrat opened 
with a latch-key from his heavy bunch. His hand trembled, he was 
plainly in a nervous state. They entered an antechamber with 
clothes-racks, where Behrens hung his bowler on a hook, and 
thence passed into a short corridor, which was separated by a glass 
door from that of the main building. On both sides of this corridor 
lay the rooms of the small private dwelling. Behrens called a servant 
and gave an order; then to a running accompaniment of whimsical 
remarks ushered them through a door on the right. 

They saw a couple of rooms furnished in banal middle-class 
taste, facing the valley and opening one into another through a 
doorway hung with portieres. One w r as an “ old-German ” din- 
ing-room, the other a living- and working-room, with woollen 
carpets, bookshelves and sofa, and a writing-table above which 
hung a pair of crossed swords and a student’s cap. Beyond was a 
Turkish smoking-cabinet. Everywhere were paintings, the work 
of the Hofrat. The guests went up to them at once on entering, 
courteously ready to praise. There were several portraits of his de- 
parted wife, in oil; also, standing on the writing-table, photo- 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


256 

graphs of her. She was a thin, enigmatic blonde, portrayed in flow- 
ing garments, with her hands, their finger-tips just lightly enlaced, 
against her left shoulder, and her eyes either directed toward 
heaven or else cast upon the ground, shaded by long, thick, ob- 
liquely outstanding eyelashes. Never once was the departed one 
shown looking directly ahead of her toward the observer. The 
other pictures were chiefly mountain landscapes, mountains in 
snow and mountains in summer green, mist-wreathed mountains, 
mountains whose dry, sharp outline was cut out against a deep-blue 
sky — these apparently under the influence of Segantini. Then 
there were cowherds’ huts, and dewlapped cattle standing or lying 
in sun-drenched high pastures. There was a plucked fowl, with its 
long writhen neck hanging down from a table among a setting of 
vegetables. There were flower-pieces, types of mountain peasantry, 
and so on — all painted with a certain brisk dilettantism, the colours 
boldly dashed on to the canvas, and often looking as though they 
had been squeezed on out of the tube. They must have taken a long 
time to dry — but were sometimes effective by way of helping out 
the other shortcomings. 

They passed as they would along the walls of an exhibition, ac- 
companied by the master of the house, who now and then gave a 
name to some subject or other, but was chiefly silent, with the 
proud embarrassment of the artist, tasting the enjoyment of look- 
ing on his own works with the eyes of strangers. The portrait of 
Clavdia Chauchat hung on the window wall of the living-room — 
Hans Castorp spied it out with a quick glance as he entered, though 
the likeness was but a distant one. Purposely he avoided the spot, 
detaining his companions in the dining-room, where he affected to 
admire a fresh green glimpse into the valley of the Serbi, with ice- 
blue glaciers in the background. Next he passed of his own accord 
into the Turkish cabinet, and looked at all it had to show, with 
praises on his lips; thence back to the living-room, beginning with 
the entrance wall, and calling upon Joachim to second his en- 
comiums. But at last he turned, with a measured start, and said: 
“ But surely that is a familiar face? ” 

“ You recognize her? ” the Hof rat wanted to know. 

“ It is not possible I am mistaken. The lady at the 4 good ’ Rus- 
sian table, with the French name — ” 

“ Right! Chauchat. Glad you think it’s like her.” 

“ Speaking,” Hans Castorp lied. He did so less from insincerity 
than in the consciousness that, on the face of things, he ought not 
to have been able to recognize her. Joachim could never have done 
so — good Joachim, who saw the whole affair now in its true light. 


HU MAN IORA 


257 

after the false one Hans Castorp had first cast upon it; saw how the 
wool had been pulled over his eyes; and with a murmured recog- 
nition applied himself to help look at the painting. His cousin had 
paid him out for not going into society after luncheon. 

It was a bust-length, in half profile, rather under life-size, in a 
wide, bevelled frame, black, with an inner beading of gilt. Neck 
and bosom were bare or veiled with a soft drapery laid about the 
shoulders. Frau Chauchat appeared ten years older than her age, as 
often happens in amateur portraiture where the artist is bent on 
making a character study. There was too much red all over the 
face, the nose was badly out of drawing, the colour of the hair 
badly hit off, too straw-colour; the mouth was distorted, the pecu- 
liar charm of the features ungrasped or at least not brought out, 
spoiled by the exaggeration of their single elements.The whole was 
a rather botched performance, and only distantly related to its orig- 
inal. But Hans Castorp was not particular about the degree of like- 
ness, the relation of this canvas to Frau Chauchat’s person was close 
enough for him. It purported to represent her, in these very rooms 
she had sat for it, that was all he needed; much moved he reiterated: 
“ The very image of her! ” 

“ Oh, no,” the Hofrat demurred. “ It was a pretty clumsy piece 
of work, I don’t flatter myself I hit her off very well, though we 
had, I suppose, twenty sittings. What can you do with a rum sort 
of face like that? You might think she would be easy to capture, 
with those hyperborean cheek-bones, and eyes like cracks in a 
loaf of bread. Yes, there’s something about her — if you get the 
detail right, you botch the ensemble. Riddle of the sphinx. Do you 
know her? It would probably be better to paint her from memory, 
instead of having her sit. Did you say you knew’ her? ” 

“ No; that is, only superficially, the way one knows people up 
here.” 

“ Well, I know her under her skin — subcutaneously, you see: 
blood pressure, tissue tension, lymphatic circulation, all that sort 
of thing. I’ve good reason to. It’s the superficies makes the diffi- 
culty. Have you ever noticed her walk? She slinks. It’s character- 
istic, shows in her face — take the eyes, for example, not to mention 
the complexion, though that is tricky too. I don’t mean their 
colour, I am speaking of the cut, and the way they sit in the face. 
You’d say the eye slit was cut obliquely, but it only looks so. What 
deceives you is the epicanthus, a racial variation, consisting in a sort 
of ridge of integument that runs from the bridge of the nose to the 
eyelid, and comes dowm over the inside comer of the eye. If you 
take your finger and stretch the skin at the base of the nose, the 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


258 

eye looks as straight as any of ours. Quite a taking little dodge — 
but as a matter of fact, the epicanthus can be traced back to an 
atavistic vestige — it’s a developmental arrest.” 

“ So that’s it.” Hans Castorp said. “ I never knew that — but I’ve 
wondered for a long time what it is about eyes like that.” 

“ Vanity,” said the Hof rat, “ and vexation of spirit. If you 
simply draw them in slanting, you are lost. You must bring about 
the obliquity the same way nature does, you must add illusion to 
illusion — and for that you have to know about the epicanthus. 
What a man knows always comes in handy. Now look at the skin 
— the epidermis. Do you find I’ve managed to make it lifelike, or 
not? ” 

“ Enormously,” said Hans Castorp. “ Simply enormously. I’ve 
never seen skin painted anything like so well. You can fairly see 
the pores.” And he ran the edge of his hand lightly over the bare 
neck and shoulders, the skin of which, especially by contrast with 
the exaggerated red of the face, was very white, as though seldom 
exposed. Whether this effect was premeditated or not, it was 
rather suggestive. 

And still Hans Castorp’s praise was deserved. The pale shim- 
mer of this tender, though not emaciated, bosom, losing itself in 
the bluish shadows of the drapery, was very like life. It was obvi- 
ously painted with feeling; a sort of sweetness emanated from it, 
yet the artist had been successful in giving it a scientific realism 
and precision as well. The roughness of the canvas texture, show- 
ing through the paint, had been dexterously employed to suggest 
the natural unevennesses of the skin — this especially in the neigh- 
bourhood of the delicate collar-bones. A tiny mole, at the point 
where the breasts began to divide, had been done with care, and 
on their rounding surfaces one thought to trace the delicate blue 
veins. It was as though a scarcely perceptible shiver of sensibility 
beneath the eye of the beholder were passing over this nude flesh, 
as though one might see the perspiration, the invisible vapour 
which the life beneath threw off; as though, were one to press 
one’s lips upon this surface, one might perceive, not the smell of 
paint and fixative, but the odour of the human body. Such, at least, 
were Hans Castorp’s impressions, which we here reproduce — and 
he, of course, was in a peculiarly susceptible state. But it is none 
the less true that Frau Chauchat’s portrait was by far the most 
telling piece of painting in the room. 

Hofrat Behrens rocked back and forth on his heels and the balls 
of his feet, his hands in this trouser pockets, as he gazed at his 
work in company with the cousins. 



HUMANIORA 


2 59 

“ Delighted,’’ he said. “ Delighted to find favour in the eves of 
a colleague. If a man knows a bit about what goes on under the 
epidermis, that does no harm either. In other words, if he can paint 
a little below the surface, and stands in another relation to nature 
than just the lyrical, so to say. An artist who is a doctor, physi- 
ologist, and anatomist on the side, and has his own little way of 
thinking about the under sides of things — it all comes in handy 
too, it gives you the pas, say what you like. That birthday suit 
there is painted with science, it is organically correct, you can ex- 
amine it under the microscope. You can see not only the horny 
and mucous strata of the epidermis, but I’ve suggested the texture 
of the corium underneath, with the oil- and sweat-glands, the 
blood-vessels and tubercles — and then under that still the layer of 
fat, the upholstering, you know, full of oil ducts, the underpinning 
of the lovely female form. What is in your mind as you work 
runs into your hand and has its influence — it isn’t really there, and 
yet somehow or other it is, and that is what gives the lifelike effect.” 

All this was fuel to Hans Castorp’s fire. His brow was flushed, 
his eyes fairly sparkled, he had so much to say he knew not where 
to begin. In the first place, he had it in mind to remove the picture 
of Frau Chauchat from the window wall, where it hung somewhat 
in shadow, and place it to better advantage; next, he was eager to 
take up the Hofrat’s remarks about the constitution of the skin, 
which had keenly interested him; and finally, he wanted to make 
some remarks of his own, of a general and philosophical nature, 
which interested him no less mightily. 

Laying his hands upon the painting to unhook it, he eagerly be- 
gan: “ Yes, yes indeed, that is all very important. What I’d like to 
say is — I mean, you said, Herr Hofrat, if I understood rightly, you 
said: ‘ In another relation.’ You said it was good when there was 
some other relation besides the lyric — I think that was the word 
you used — the artistic, that is; in short, when one looked at the 
thing from another point of view — the medical, for example. 
That’s all so enormously to the point, you know — I do beg your 
pardon, Herr Hofrat, but what I mean is that it is so exactly and 
precisely right, because after all it is not a question of any funda- 
mentally different relations or points of view, but at bottom just 
variations of one and the same, just shadings of it, so to speak, I 
mean: variations of one and the same universal interest, the artistic 
impulse itself being a part and a manifestation of it too, if I may say 
so. Yes, if you will pardon me, I will take down this picture, there’s 
positively no light here where it hangs, permit me to carry it over 
to the sofa, we shall see if it won’t look entirely — what I meant to 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


260 

say was: what is the main concern of the study of medicine? I 
know nothing about it, of course — but after all'isn’t its main con- 
cem with human beings? And jurisprudence — making laws, pro- 
nouncing judgment — its main concern is with human beings too. 
And philology, which is nearly always bound up with the profes- 
sion of pedagogy? And theology, with the care of souls, the office 
of spiritual shepherd? All of them have to do with human beings, 
all of them are degrees of one and the same important, the same 
fundamental interest, the interest in humanity. In other words, they 
are the humanistic callings, and if you go in for them you have to 
study the ancient languages by way of foundation, for the sake of 
formal training, as they say. Perhaps you are surprised at my talk- 
ing about them like that, being only a practical man and on the 
technical side. But I have been thinking about these questions 
lately, in the rest-cure; and I find it wonderful, I find it a simply 
priceless arrangement of things, that the formal, the idea of form, 
of beautiful form, lies at the bottom of every sort of humanistic 
calling. It gives it such nobility, I think, such a sort of disinterested- 
ness, and feeling, too, and — and — courtliness — it makes a kind of 
chivalrous adventure out of it. That is to say — I suppose I am ex- 
pressing myself very ridiculously, but — you can see how the things 
of the mind and the love of beauty come together, and that they 
always really have been one and the same — in other words, science 
and art; and that the calling of being an artist surely belongs with- 
the others, as a sort of fifth faculty, because it too is a humanistic 
calling, a variety of humanistic interest, in so far as its most im- 
portant theme or concern is with man — you will agree with me on 
that point. When I experimented in that line in my youth, I never 
painted anything but ships and water, of course. But notwithstand- 
ing, in my eyes the most interesting branch of painting is and re- 
mains portraiture, because it has man for its immediate object — 
that was why I asked at once if you had done anything in that field. 
— Wouldn’t this be a far more favourable place for it to hang? ” 

Both of them, Behrens no less than Joachim, looked at him 
amazed — was he not ashamed of this confused, impromptu ha- 
rangue? But no, Hans Castorp was far too preoccupied to feel self- 
conscious. He held the painting against the sofa wall, and demanded 
to know if it did not get a much better light. Just then the servant 
brought a tray, with hot water, a spirit-lamp, and coffee-cups. 

Behrens motioned them into the cabinet, saying: “ Then you 
must have been more interested in sculpture, originally, than in 
painting, I should think. Yes, of course, it gets more light there; if 
you think it can stand it. I should suppose so, because sculpture 



HU MANIORA 26 1 

concerns itself more purely and exclusively with the human form. 
But we mustn’t let the water boil away.” 

“ Quite right, sculpture,” Hans Castorp said, as they went. He 
forgot either to hang up or put down the picture he had been hold- 
ing, but tugged it with him into the neighbouring room. “ Cer- 
tainly a Greek Venus or athlete is more humanistic, it is probably 
at bottom the most humanistic of all the arts, when one comes to 
think about it! ” 

“ Well, as far as little Chauchat goes, she is a better subject for 
painting than sculpture. Phidias, or that other chap with the Mo- 
saic ending to his name, would have stuck up their noses at her style 
of physiognomy. — Hullo, where are von going with the haim ” 
“ Pardon me, I’ll just lean it here against the leg of my chair, 
that will do very well for the moment. The Greek sculptors did 
not trouble themselves about the head and face, their interest was 
more with the body, I suppose that was their humanism. — And 
the plasticity of the female form — so that is fat, is it 2 ” 

“ That is fat,” the Hofrat said concisely. He had opened a hang- 
ing cabinet, and taken thence the requisites for his coffee-making: 
a cylindrical Turkish mill, a long-handled pot, a double receptacle 
for sugar and ground coffee, all in brass. “ Palmitin, stearin, olein,” 
he went on, shaking the coffee berries from a tin box into the mill, 
which he began to turn. “ You see I make it all myself, it tastes 
twice as good. — Did you think it was ambrosia 5 ” 

“ No, of course I knew. Only it sounds strange to hear it like 
that,” Hans Castorp said. 

They were seated in the corner between door and window, at a 
bamboo tabouret which held an oriental brass tray, upon which 
Behrens had set the coffee-machine, among the smoking utensils. 
Joachim was next Behrens on the ottoman, overflowing with cush- 
ions; Hans Castorp sat in a leather arm-chair on castors, against 
which he had leaned Frau Chauchat’s picture. A gaily-coloured 
carpet was beneath their feet. The Hofrat ladled coffee and sugar 
into the long-handled pot, added water, and let the brew~ boil up 
over the flame of the lamp. It foamed brownly in the little onion- 
pattern cups, and proved on tasting both strong and sweet. 

“ Your own as well,” Behrens said. “ Your 4 plasticity ’ — so far 
as you have any — is fat too, though of course not to the same ex- 
tent as with a woman. With us fat is only about five per cent of the 
body weight, in females it is one sixteenth of the whole. Without 
that subcutaneous cell structure of ours, we should all be nothing 
but fungoid growths. It disappears, with time, and then come the 
unaesthetic wrinkles in the drapery. The layer is thickest on the fe- 


262 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


male breast and belly, on the front of the thighs, everywhere, in 
short, where there is a little something for heart and hand to take 
hold of. The soles of the feet are fat and ticklish.” 

Hans Castorp turned the cylindrical coffee-mill about in his 
hands. It was, like the rest of the set, Indian or Persian rather than 
Turkish; the style of the engraving showed that, with the bright 
surface of the pattern standing out against the purposely dulled 
background. He looked at the design, without immediately seeing 
what it was. When he did, he blushed unawares. 

“ Yes, that is a set for single gentlemen,” Behrens said. “ I keep it 
locked up, you see, my kitchen queen might hurt her eyes looking 
at it. It won't do you gentlemen any harm, I take it. It was given 
to me by a patient, an Egyptian princess who once honoured us 
with a year or so of her presence. You see, the pattern repeats itself 
on the whole set. Pretty roguish, what' ” 

“ Yes, it is quite unusual,” Hans Castorp answered. “ Ha ha! No, 
it doesn’t trouble me. But one can take it perfectly seriously; 
solemnly, in fact — only then it is rather out of place on a coffee- 
machine. The ancients are said to have used such motifs on their 
sarcophagi. The sacred and the obscene were more or less the 
same thing to them.” 

“ I should say the princess was more for the second,” Behrens 
said. “ Anyhow she still sends me the most wonderful cigarettes, 
superfinissimos, you know, only sported on first-class occasions.” 
He fetched the garish-coloured box from the cupboard and offered 
them. Joachim drew his heels together as he received his cigarette. 
Hans Castorp helped himself to his; it was unusually large and 
thick, and had a ^ilt sphinx on it. He began to smoke — it was won- 
derful, as Behrens had said. 

“ Tell us some more about the skin,” he begged the Hofrat; 
“ that is, if you will be so kind.” He had taken Frau Chauchat’s 
portrait on his knee, and was gazing at it, leaning back in his chair, 
the cigarette between his lips. “ Not about the fat-layer, we know 
about that now. About the human skin in general, that you know 
so well how to paint.” 

“ About the skin. You are interested in physiology? ” 

“ Very much. Yes, I’ve always felt a good deal of interest in it. 
The human body — yes, I’ve always had an uncommon turn for it. 
I’ve sometimes asked myself whether I ought not to have been a 
physician — it wouldn’t have been a bad idea, in a way. Because 
if you are interested in the body, you must be interested in disease 
— specially interested, isn’t that so? But it doesn’t signify, I might 
have been such a lot of things — for example, a clergyman.” 


HUMANIORA 


263 


“ Indeed? ” 

“ Yes, I’ve sometimes had the idea I should have been decidedly 
in my element there.” 

“ How did you come to be an engineer, then? ” 

“ I just happened to — it was more or less outward circumstances 
that decided the matter.” 

“ Well, about the skin. What do you want to hear about your 
sensory sheath? You know, don’t you, that it is your outside brain 
— ontogenetically the same as that apparatus of the so-called higher 
centres up there in your cranium? The central nervous system is 
nothing but a modification of the outer skin-layer; among the 
lower animals the distinction between central and peripheral 
doesn’t exist, they smell and taste with their skin, it is the only 
sensory organ they have. Must be rather nice — if you can put 
yourself in their place. On the other hand, in such highly differen- 
tiated forms of life as you and I are, the skin has fallen from its high 
estate; it has to confine itself to feeling ticklish; that is to say, to 
being simply a protective and registering apparatus — but devil- 
ishly on the qui vive for anything that tries to come too close about 
the body. It even puts out feelers — the body hairs, which are noth- 
ing but hardened skin cells — and they get wind of the approach of 
whatever it is, before the skin itself is touched. Just between our- 
selves, it is quite possible that this protecting and defending func- 
tion of the skin extends beyond the physical. Do you know what 
makes you go red and pale? ” 

“ Not very precisely.” 

“ Well, neither do we, ‘ very precisely,’ to be frank — at least, as 
far as blushing is concerned. The situation is not quite clear; for the 
dilatory muscles which are presumably set in action by the vaso- 
motor nerves haven’t yet been demonstrated in relation to the 
blood-vessels. How the cock really swells his comb, or any of the 
other well-known instances come about, is still a mystery, par- 
ticularly where it is a question of emotional influences in play. We 
assume that a connexion subsists between the outer rind of the 
cerebrum and the vascular centre in the medulla. Certain stimuli — 
for instance, let us say, like your being powerfully embarrassed, 
set up the connexion, and the nerves that control the blood-vessels 
function toward the face, and they expand and fill, and you get a 
face like a turkey-cock, all swelled up with blood so you can’t see 
out of your eyes. On the other hand, suppose you are in suspense, 
something is going to happen — it may be something tremendously 
beautiful, for aught I care — the blood-vessels that feed the skin 
contract, it gets pale and cold and sunken, you look like a dead 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


264 

man, with big, lead-coloured eye-sockets and a peaked nose. But 
the Sympathicus makes your heart thump away like a good fellow.” 

“ So that is how it happens,” Hans Castorp said. 

“ Something like that. Those are reactions, you know. But it is 
the nature of reactions and reflexes to haye a reason for happening; 
we are beginning to suspect, we physiologists, that the phenomena 
accompanying emotion are really defence mechanisms, protectiye 
reflexes of the system. Goose-flesh, now. Do you know T how you 
come to have goose-flesh- ” 

“ Not very clearly either, I’m afraid.” 

“ That is a little contrivance of the sebaceous glands, which se- 
crete the fatty, albuminous substance that oils your skin and keeps 
it supple, and pleasant to feel of. Not very appetizing, maybe, but 
without it the skin would be all withered and cracked. Without 
the cholesterin, it is hard to imagine touching the human skin at 
all. These sebaceous glands have little erector-muscles that act upon 
them, and when they do so, then you are like the lad when the 
princess poured the pail of minnows over him. Your skin gets like 
a file, and if the stimulus is very powerful, the hair ducts are erected 
too, the hair on your head bristles up and the little hairs on your 
body, like quills upon the fretful porcupine — and you can say, like 
the youth in the story, that now you know how to shiver and 
shake.” 

“ Oh,” said Hans Castorp, “ I know how already. I shiver rather 
easily, on all sorts of provocation. Only what surprises me is that 
the glands are erected for such different reasons. It gives one goose- 
flesh to hear a slate-pencil run across a pane of glass; but when you 
hear particularly beautiful music you suddenly find you have it 
too, and when 1 was confirmed and took my first communion, I 
had one shiver after another, it seemed as though the prickling and 
stickling would never leave off. Imagine those little muscles acting 
for such different reasons! ” 

“ Oh,” Behrens said, “ tickling’s tickling. The body doesn’t give 
a hang for the content of the stimulus. It may be minnows, it may 
be the Holy Ghost, the sebaceous glands are erected just the same.” 

Hans Castorp regarded the picture on his knee. 

“ Herr Hofrat,” he said, “ I wanted to come back to something 
you said a moment ago, about internal processes, lymphatic action, 
and that sort of thing. Tell us about it — particularly about the 
lymphatic system, it interests me tremendously.” 

“ I believe you,” Behrens responded. “ The lymph is the most 
refined, the most ratefied, the most intimate of the body juices. I 
dare say you had an inkling of the fact in your mind when you 



HUMANIORA 


265 

asked. People talk about the blood, and the mysteries of its com- 
position, and what an extraordinary fluid it is. But it is the lymph 
that is the juice of juices, the very essence, you understand, ichor, 
blood-milk, creme de la creme; as a matter of fact, after a fatty 
diet it does look like milk.” And he went on, in his lively and 
whimsical phraseology, to gratify Hans Castorp’s desire. And first 
he characterized the blood, a serum composed of fat, albumen, iron, 
sugar and salt, crimson as an opera-cloak, the product of respira- 
tion and digestion, saturated with gases, laden with waste products, 
which was pumped at 98.4° of heat from the heart through the 
blood-vessels, and kept up metabolism and animal warmth through- 
out the body — in other words, sweet life itself. But, he said, the 
blood did not come into immediate contact with the body cells. 
What happened was that the pressure at which it was pumped 
caused a milky extract of it to sweat through the walls of the blood- 
vessels, and so into the tissues, so that it filled every tiny interstice 
and cranny, and caused the elastic cell-tissue to distend. This dis- 
tension of the tissues, or turgor , pressed the lymph, after it had 
nicely swilled out the cells and exchanged matter with them, into 
the vasa lymphatica y the lymphatic vessels, and so back into the 
blood again, at the rate of a litre and a half a day. He went on to 
speak of the lymphatic tubes and absorbent vessels, described the 
secretion of the breast milk, which collected lymph from legs, 
abdomen, and breast, one arm, and one side of the head; described 
the very delicately constructed filters called lymphatic glands 
which were placed at certain points in the lymphatic system, in the 
neck, the arm-pit, and the elbow-joint, the hollow under the knee, 
and other soft and intimate parts of the body. 

“ Swellings may occur in these places,” Behrens explained. “ In- 
durations of the lymphatic glands, let us say, in the knee-pan or the 
arm-joint, dropsical tumours here and there, and we base our diag- 
nosis on them — they always have a reason, though not always a 
very pretty one. Under such circumstances there is more than a 
suspicion of tubercular congestion of the lymphatic vessels.” 

Hans Castorp was silent a little space. 

“ Yes,” he said, then, in a low voice, “ it is true, I might very 
well have been a doctor. The flow of the breast milk — the lymph 
of the legs — all that interests me very, very much. What is the 
body? ” he rhapsodically burst forth. “ What is the flesh? What is 
the physical being of man? What is he made of? Tell us this after- 
noon, Herr Hofrat, tell us exactly, and once and for all, so that we 
may know! ” 

“ Of water,” answered Behrens. “ So you are interested in or- 


266 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


ganic chemistry too? The human body consists, much the larger 
part of it, of water. No more and no less than water, and nothing 
to get wrought up about. The solid parts are only twenty-five per 
cent of the whole, and of that twenty are ordinary white of egg, 
protein, if you want to use a handsomer word. Besides that, a little 
fat and a little salt, that’s about all.” 

“ But the white of egg — what is that? ” 

“ Various primary substances: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxy- 
gen, sulphur. Sometimes phosphorus. Your scientific curiosity is 
running away with itself. Some albumens are in composition with 
carbo-hydrates; that is to say, grape-sugar and starch. In old age 
the flesh becomes tough, that is because the collagen increases in 
the connective tissue — the lime, you know, the most important 
constituent of the bones and cartilage. What else shall I tell you? 
In the muscle plasma we have an albumen called fibrin; when death 
occurs, it coagulates in the muscular tissue, and causes the rigor 
mortis .” 

“ Right-oh, 1 see, the rigor morris” Hans Castorp said blithely. 
“ Very good, very good. And then comes the general analysis — 
the anatomy of the grave.” 

“ Yes, of course. But how well you put it! Yes, the movement 
becomes general, you flow away, so to speak — remember all that 
water! The remaining constituents are very unstable; without life, 
they are resolved by putrefaction into simpler combinations, anor- 
ganic.” 

“ Dissolution, putrefaction,” said Hans Castorp. “ They are the 
same thing as combustion: combination with oxygen — am I 
right? ” 

“ To a T. Oxidization.” 

“ And life? ” 

“ Oxidization too. The same. Yes, young man, life too is prin- 
cipally oxidization of the cellular albumen, which gives us that 
beautiful animal warmth, of which we sometimes have more than 
we need. Tut, living consists in dying, no use mincing the matter 
— ime destruction orgcmique , as some Frenchman with his native 
levity has called it. It smells like that, too. If we don’t think so, 
our judgment is corrupted.” 

“ And if one is interested in life, one must be particularly in- 
terested in death, mustn’t one? ” 

“ Oh, well, after all, there is some sort of difference. Life is life 
which keeps the form through change of substance.” 

“ Why should the form remain? ” said Hans Castorp. 


RESEARCH 267 

“ Why? Young man, what you are saying now sounds far from 
humanistic.” 

“ Form is folderol.” 

“Well, you are certainly in great form to-day — you’re regu- 
larly kicking over the traces. But I must drop out now,” said the 
Hofrat. “ I am beginning to feel melancholy,” and he laid his huge 
hand over his eyes. “ I can feel it coming on. You see, I’ve drunk 
coffee with you, and it tasted good to me, and all of a sudden it 
comes over me that I am going to be melancholy. You gentlemen 
must excuse me. It was an extra occasion, I enjoyed it no end — ” 

The cousins had sprung up. They reproached themselves for 
having taxed the Horrat’s patience so long. He made proper pro- 
test. Hans Castorp hastened to carry Frau Chauchat’s portrait into 
the next room and hang it once more on the wall. They did not 
need to re-traverse the garden to arrive at their own quarters; 
Behrens directed them through the building, and accompanied 
them to the dividing glass door. In the mood that had come over 
him so unexpectedly, his goggling eyes blinked, and the bone of 
his neck stuck out, both more than ever; his upper lip, with the 
clipped, one-sided moustache, had taken on a querulous expression. 

As they went along the corridors Hans Castorp said to his 
cousin: “ Confess that it was a good idea of mine.” 

“ It was a change, at least,” responded Joachim. “ And you cer- 
tainly took occasion to air your views on a good many subjects. It 
was a bit complicated for me. It is high time now that we went 
in to the rest-cure, we shall have at least twenty minutes before 
tea. You probably think it is folderol to pay so much attention to 
it, now you’ve taken to kicking over the traces. But you don’t need 
it so much as I do, after all.” 


Research 

And now came on, as come it must, what Hans Castorp had never 
thought to experience: the winter of the place, the winter of these 
high altitudes. Joachim knew it already: it had been in full blast 
when he arrived the year before — but Hans Castorp rather 
dreaded it, however well he felt himself equipped. Joachim sought 
to reassure him. 

“You must not imagine it grimmer than it is,” he said, “not 
really arctic. You will feel the cold less on account of the dryness 
of the air and the absence of wind. It’s the thing about the change 
of temperature above the fog line; they’ve found out lately that it 


268 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


gets warmer in the upper reaches, something they did not know be- 
fore. I should say it is actually colder when it rains. But you have 
your sleeping-bag, and they turn on the heat when they absolutely 
must.” 

And in fact there could be no talk of violence or surprises; the 
winter came mildly on, at first no different from many a day they 
had seen in the height of summer. The wind had been two days in 
the south, the sun bore down, the valley seemed shrunken, the side 
walls at its mouth looked near and bald. Clouds came up, behind 
Piz Michel and Tinzenhom, and drove north-eastwards. It rained 
heavily. Then the rain turned foul, a whitish-grey, mingled with 
snow-flakes — soon it was all snow, the valley was full of flurry; 
it kept on and on, the temperature fell appreciably, so that the fallen 
snow could not quite melt, but lay covering the valley with a wet 
and threadbare white garment, against which showed black the 
pines on the slopes. In the dining-room the radiators were luke- 
warm. That was at the beginning of November — All Souls’ — 
and there was no novelty about it. In August it had been even so; 
they had long left off regarding snow as a prerogative of winter. 
White traces lingered after every storm in the crannies of the 
rocky Rhatikon, the chain that seemed to guard the end of the 
valley, and the distant monarchs to the south were always in snow. 
But the storm and the fall in the temperature both continued. A 
pale grey sky hung low over the valley; it seemed to dissolve in 
flakes and fall soundlessly and ceaselessly, until one almost felt un- 
easy. It turned colder by the hour. A morning came when the ther- 
mometer in Hans Castorp’s room registered 44 0 , the next morning 
it was only 40°. That was cold. It kept within bounds, but it per- 
sisted. It had frozen at night; now it froze in the day-time as well, 
and all day long; and it snowed, with brief intervals, through the 
fourth, the fifth, and the seventh days. The snow mounted apace, 
it became a nuisance. Paths had been shovelled as far as the bench 
by the watercourse, and on the drive down to the valley; but these 
were so narrow that you could only walk single file, and if you met 
anyone, you must step off the pavement and at once sink knee- 
deep in snow. A stone-roller drawn by a horse, with a man at his 
halter, rolled all day long up and down the streets of the cure, while 
a yellow diligence on runners, looking like an old-fashioned post- 
coach, plied between village and cure, with a snow-plough attached 
in front, shovelling the white masses aside. The world, this narrow, 
lofty, isolated world up here, looked now well wadded and uphol- 
stered indeed: no pillar or post but wore its white cap; the steps 
up to the entrance of the Berghof had turned into an inclined 


RESEARCH 


269 

plane; heavy cushions, in the drollest shapes, weighed down the 
branches of the Scotch firs — now and then one slid off and raised 
up a cloud of powdery white dust in its fall. Round about, the 
heights lay smothered in snow; their lower regions rugged with the 
evergreen growth, their upper parts, beyond the timber line, softly 
covered up to their many-shaped summits. The air was dark, the 
sun but a pallid apparition behind a veil. Yet a mild reflected bright- 
ness came from the snow, a milky gleam whose light became both 
landscape and human beings, even though these latter did show red 
noses under their white or gaily-coloured woollen caps. 

In the dining-room the onset of winter — the “ season ” of the 
region — was the subject of conversation at all seven tables. Many 
tourists and sportsmen were said to have arrived and taken up resi- 
dence at the hotels in the Dorf and the Platz. The height of the 
piled-up snow was estimated at two feet; its consistency was said 
to be ideal for skiing. The bob-run, which led down from the 
north-western slope of the Schatzalp into the valley, was zealously 
worked on, it would be possible to open it in the next few days, 
unless a thaw put out all calculations. Everyone looked forward 
eagerly to the activities of these sound people down below — to the 
sports and races, which it was forbidden to attend, but which num- 
bers of the patients resolved to see, by cutting the rest-cure and 
slipping out of the Berghof. Hans Castorp heard of a new sport 
that had come from Scandinavia, “ ski-joring it consisted in races 
in which the participants were drawn by horses while standing in 
their skis. It was to see this that so many of the patients had re- 
solved to slip out. — There was talk too of Christmas. 

Christmas! Hans Castorp had never once thought of it. To be 
sure, he had blithely said, and written, that he must spend the win- 
ter up here with Joachim, because of what the doctors had dis- 
covered to be the state of his health. But now he was startled to 
realize that Christmas would be included in the programme — per- 
haps because (and yet not entirely because) he had never spent the 
Christmas season anywhere but in the bosom of the family. Well, 
if he must he must; he would have to put up with it. He was no 
longer a child; Joachim seemed not to mind, or else to have ad- 
justed himself uncomplainingly to the prospect; and, after all, he 
said to himself, think of all the places and all the conditions in 
which Christmas has been celebrated before now! 

Yet it did seem to him rather premature to begin thinking about 
Christmas even before the Advent season, six weeks at least before 
the holiday! True, such an interval was easily overleaped by the 
guests in the dining-hall: it was a mental process in which Hans 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


270 

Castorp had already some facility, though he had not yet learned 
to practise it in the grand style, as the older inhabitants did. Christ- 
mas, like other holidays in the course of the year, served them for 
a fulcrum, or a vaulting-pole, with which to leap over empty inter- 
vening spaces. They all had fever, their metabolism was acceler- 
ated, their bodily processes accentuated, keyed up — all this per- 
haps accounted for the wholesale way they could put time behind 
them. It would not have greatly surprised him to hear them dis- 
count the Christmas holiday as well, and go on at once to speak of 
the New Year and Carnival. But no — so capricious and unstable 
as this they were not, in the Berghof dining-room. Christmas gave 
them pause, it gave them even matter for concern and brain-rack- 
ing. It was customary to present Hofrat Behrens with a gift on 
Christmas eve, for which a collection was taken up among the 
guests — and this gift was the subject of much deliberation. A meet- 
ing was called. Last year, so the old inhabitants said, they had given 
him a travelling-trunk; this time a new operating-table had been 
considered, an easel, a fur coat, a rocking-chair, an inlaid ivory 
stethoscope. Settembrini, asked for suggestions, proposed that they 
give the Hofrat a newly projected encyclopaedic work called The 
Sociology of Suffering; but he found only one person to agree with 
him, a book-dealer who sat at Hermine Kleefeld’s table. In short, 
no decision had been reached. There was difficulty about coming 
to an agreement with the Russian guests; a divergence of views 
arose. The Muscovites declared their preference for making an 
independent gift. Frau Stohr went about for days quite outraged 
on account of a loan of ten francs which she inadvisedly laid out 
for Frau litis at the meeting, and which the latter had “ forgotten ” 
to return. She “ forgot ” it. The shades of meaning Frau Stohr con- 
trived to convey in this word were many and varied, but one and 
all expressive of an entire disbelief in Frau Iltis’s lack of memory, 
which, it appeared, had been proof against the hints and proddings 
Frau Stohr freely admitted having administered. Several times she 
declared she would resign herself, make Frau litis a present of the 
sum. “ I’ll pay for both of us,” she said. “ Then my skirts will be 
cleared! ” But in the end she hit upon another plan and communi- 
cated it to her table-mates, to their great delight: she had the 
“ management ” refund her the ten francs and insert it in Frau 
Iltis’s weekly bill. Thus was the reluctant debtor outwitted, and at 
least this phase of the matter settled. 

It had stopped snowing, the sky began to clear. The blue-grey 
cloud-masses parted to admit glimpses of the sun, whose rays gave 
a bluish cast to the scene. Then it grew altogether fair; a bright 



RESEARCH 


2?I 

hard frost and settled winter splendour reigned in the middle of 
November. The arch of the loggia framed a glorious panorama of 
snow-powdered forest, softly filled passes and ravines, white, sun- 
lit valleys, and radiant blue heavens above all. In the evening, when 
the almost full moon appeared, the world lay in enchanted splen- 
dour, marvellous. Crystal and diamond it glittered far and wide, 
the forest stood up very black and white, the quarter of the heavem 
where the moon was not showed deeply dark, embroidered with 
stars. On the flashing surface of the snow, shadows, so strong, so 
sharp and clearly outlined that they seemed almost more real than 
the objects themselves, fell from houses, trees, and telegraph-poles. 
An hour or so after sunset there would be some fourteen degrees 
of frost. The world seemed spellbound in icy purity, its earthly 
blemishes veiled; it lay fixed in a deathlike, enchanted trance. 

Hans Castorp stopped until far into the night in his balcony 
above the ensorcelled winter scene — much longer than Joachim, 
who retired at ten or a little later. His excellent chair, with the 
sectional mattress and the neck-roll, he pulled close to the snow- 
cushioned balustrade; at his hand was the white table with the 
lighted reading-lamp, a stack of books, and a glass of creamy milk, 
the “ evening milk ” which was brought to each of the guests’ 
rooms at nine o’clock. Hans Castorp put a dash of cognac in his, to 
make it more palatable. Already he had availed himself of all his 
means of protection against the cold, the entire outfit: lay en- 
sconced well up to his chest in the buttoned-up sleeping-sack he 
had acquired in one of the well-furnished shops in the Platz, with 
the two camel’s-hair rugs folded over it in accordance with the 
ritual. He w r ore his winter suit, with a short fur jacket atop, a 
woollen cap, felt boots, and heavily lined gloves, which, however, 
could not prevent the stiffening of his fingers. 

What held him so late — often until midnight and beyond, long 
after the “ bad ” Russian pair had left their loge — was partly the 
magic of the winter night, into which, until eleven, were woven 
the mounting strains of music from near and far. But even more it 
was inertia and excitement, both of these at once, and in combina- 
tion: bodily inertia, the physical fatigue which hated any idea of 
moving; and mental excitement, the busy preoccupation of his 
thoughts with certain new and fascinating studies upon which the 
young man had embarked, and which left his brain no rest. The 
weather affected him, his organism was stimulated by the cold; he 
ate enormously, attacking the mighty Berghof meals, where the 
roast goose followed upon the roast beef, with the usual Berghof 
appetite, which was always even larger in winter than in summer 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


2 7 2 

At the same time he had a perpetual craving for sleep; in the day- 
time, as well as on the moonlit evenings, he would drop off over 
his books, and then, after a few minutes’ unconsciousness, betake 
himself again to research. Talk fatigued him. He was more in- 
clined than had been his habit to rapid, unrestrained, even reckless 
speech; but if he talked with Joachim, as they went on their snowy 
walks, he was liable to be overtaken by giddiness and trembling, 
would feel dazed and tipsy, and the blood would mount to his head. 
His curve had gone up since the oncoming of winter, and Hofrat 
Behrens had let fall something about injections; these were usually 
given in cases of obstinate high temperature, and Joachim and at 
least two-thirds of the guests had them. But he himself felt sure that 
the increase in his bodily heat had to do with the mental activity 
and excitation which kept him in his chair on the balcony until 
deep into the glittering, frosty night. The reading which held him 
so late suggested such an explanation to his mind. 

No little reading was done, in the rest-halls and private loggias 
of the International Sanatorium Berghof; largely, however, by the 
new-comers and “ short-timers,” for the patients of many months’ 
or years’ standing had long learned to kill time without mental 
effort or means of distraction, by dint of a certain inner virtuosity 
they came to possess. They even considered it beginners’ awkward- 
ness to glue yourself to a book. It was enough to have one lying in 
your lap or on your little table, in case of need. The collection of 
the establishment was an amplification of the literature found in a 
dentist’s waiting-room — in many languages, profusely illustrated, 
and offered free of qharge. The guests exchanged volumes from 
the loan-library down in the Platz; now and again there would be 
a book for which everybody scrambled, even the condescending 
old inhabitants reaching out their hands with ill-concealed eager- 
ness. At the moment it was a cheap paper-backed volume, intro- 
duced by Herr Albin, and entitled The Art of Seduction : a very 
literal translation from the French, preserving even the syntax of 
that language, and thus gaining in elegance and pungency of pres- 
entation. In matter it was an exposition of the philosophy of sen- 
sual passion, developed in a spirit of debonair and man-of-the- 
worldly paganism. Frau Stohr had read it early, and pronounced it 
simply ravishing. Frau Magnus, the same who had lost her albu- 
men tolerance, agreed unreservedly. Her husband the brewer pur- 
ported to have profited personally by a perusal, but regretted that 
his wife should have taken up that sort of thing, because such read- 
ing spoiled the women and gave them immodest ideas. His remarks 
not a little increased the circulation of the volume. Two ladies of 



RESEARCH 


2 73 

the lower rest-hall, Frau Redisch, the wife of a Polish industrial 
magnate, and Frau Hessenfeld, a widow from Berlin, both of these 
new arrivals since October, claimed the book at the same time, and 
a regrettable incident arose after dinner, yes, more than regrettable, 
for there was a violent scene, overheard by Hans Castorp, in his 
loggia above. It ended in spasms of hysteria on the part of one of 
the women — it might have been Frau Redisch, but equally well it 
might have been Frau Hessenfeld — and she was borne away be- 
side herself to her own room. The youth of the place had got hold 
of the treatise before those of riper years; studying it in part in 
groups, after supper, in their various rooms. Hans Castorp himself 
saw the youth with the finger-nail hand it to Franzchen Oberdank 
in the dining-room — she was a new arrival and a light case, a flaxen- 
haired young thing whose mother had just brought her to the 
sanatorium. 

There may have been exceptions; there may have been those 
who employed the hours of the rest-cure with some serious in- 
tellectual occupation, some conceivably profitable study, either by 
way of keeping in touch with life in the lowlands, or in order to 
give weight and depth to the passing hour, that it might not be 
pure time and nothing else besides. Perhaps here and there was one 

— not, of course, to mention Herr Settembrini, with his zeal for 
eliminating human suffering, or Joachim with his Russian primer 

— yes, there might be one, or two, thus occupied; if not among 
the guests in the dining-room, which seemed not very likely, then 
among the bedridden and moribund. Hans Castorp inclined to be- 
lieve it. He himself, after imbibing all that Ocean Steamships had 
to offer him, had ordered certain books from home, some of them 
bearing on his profession, and they had arrived with his winter 
clothing: scientific engineering, technique of ship-building, and the 
like. But these volumes lay now neglected in favour of other text- 
books belonging to quite a different field, an interest in which had 
seized upon the young man: anatomy, physiology, biology, works 
in German, French and English, sent up to the Berghof by the 
book-dealer in the village, obviously because Hans Castorp had 
ordered them, as was indeed the case. He had done so of his own 
motion, without telling anyone, on a solitary walk he took down 
to the Platz while Joachim was occupied with the weekly weigh- 
ing or injection. His cousin was surprised when he saw the books 
in Hans Castorp’s hands. They were expensive, as scientific works 
always are: the prices were marked on the wrappers and inside 
the front covers. Joachim asked why, if his cousin wanted to read 
such books, he had not borrowed them of the Hofrat, who surely 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


274 

possessed a well-chosen stock. The young man answered that it 
was quite a different thing to read when the book was one’s own; 
for his part, he loved to mark them and underline passages in pencil. 
Joachim could hear, hours on end, the noise made by the paper- 
knife going through the uncut leaves. 

The volumes were heavy, unhandy. Hans Castorp propped them 
against his chest or stomach as he lay; they were heavy, but he 
did not mind. Lying there, his mouth half open, he let his eye glide 
down the learned page, upon which fell the light from his red- 
shaded lamp, though he might have read, if need were, by the bril- 
liance of the moonlight alone. He read, following the lines down 
the page with his head, until at the bottom his chin lay sunk upon 
his breast — and in this position the reader would pause perhaps 
for reflection, dozing a little or musing in half-slumber, before 
lifting his eyes to the next page. He probed profoundly. While 
the moon took its appointed way above the crystalline splendours 
of the mountain valley, he read of organized matter, of the proper- 
ties of protoplasm, that sensitive substance maintaining itself in 
extraordinary fluctuation between building up and breaking down; 
of form developing out of rudimentary, but always present, pri- 
mordia; read with compelling interest of life, and its sacred, im- 
pure mysteries. 

What was life? No one knew. It was undoubtedly aware of it- 
self, so soon as it was life; but it did not know what it was. Con- 
sciousness, as exhibited by susceptibility to stimulus, was undoubt- 
edly, to a certain degree, present in the lowest, most undeveloped 
stages of life; it was impossible to fix the first appearance of con- 
scious processes at any point in the history of the individual or 
the race; impossible to make consciousness contingent upon, say, 
the presence of a nervous system. The lowest animal forms had no 
nervous systems, still less a cerebrum; yet no one would venture to 
deny them the capacity for responding to stimuli. One could sus- 
pend life; not merely particular sense-organs, not only nervous 
reactions, but life itself. One could temporarily suspend the irrita- 
bility to sensation of every form of living matter in the plant as 
well as in the animal kingdom; one could narcotize ova and sperma- 
tozoa with chloroform, chloral hydrate, or morphine. Conscious- 
ness, then, was simply a function of matter organized into life; a 
function that in higher manifestations turned upon its avatar and 
became an effort to explore and explain the phenomenon it dis- 
played —a hopeful-hopeless project of life to achieve self-knowl- 
edge, nature in recoil — and vainly, in the event, since she cannot 
be resolved in knowledge, nor life, when all is said, listen to itself. 



RESEARCH 


275 

What was life? No one knew. No one knew the actual point 
whence it sprang, where it kindled itself. Nothing in the domain 
of life seemed uncausated, or insufficiently causated, from that 
point on; but life itself seemed without antecedent. If there was 
anything that might be said about it, it was this: it must be so highly 
developed, structurally, that nothing even distantly related to it 
was present in the inorganic world. Between the protean amoeba 
and the vertebrate the difference was slight, unessential, as com- 
pared to that between the simplest living organism and that nature 
which did not even deserve to be called dead, because it was in- 
organic. For death was only the logical negation of life; but be- 
tween fife and inanimate nature yawned a gulf which research 
strove in vain to bridge. They tried to close it with hypotheses, 
which it swallowed down without becoming any the less deep or 
broad. Seeking for a connecting link, they had condescended to the 

H osterous assumption of structureless living matter, unorgan- 
organisms, which darted together of themselves in the albu- 
men solution, like crystals in the mother-liquor; yet organic dif- 
ferentiation still remained at once condition and expression of all 
life. One could point to no form of life that did not owe its exist- 
ence to procreation by parents. They had fished the primeval slime 
out of the depth of the sea, and great had been the jubilation — but 
the end of it all had been shame and confusion. For it turned out 
that they had mistaken a precipitate of sulphate of lime for proto- 
plasm. But then, to avoid giving pause before a miracle — for life 
that built itself up out of, and fell in decay into, the same sort of 
matter as inorganic nature, would have been, happening of itself, 
miraculous — they were driven to believe in a spontaneous genera- 
tion — that is, in the emergence of the organic from the inorganic 
— which was just as much of a miracle. Thus they went on, devis- 
ing intermediate stages and transitions, assuming the existence of 
organisms which stood lower down than any yet known, but them- 
selves had as forerunners still more primitive efforts of nature to 
achieve life: primitive forms of which no one would ever catch 
sight, for they were all of less than microscopic size, and previous 
to whose hypothetic existence the synthesis of protein compounds 
must already have taken place. 

What then was fife? It was warmth, the warmth generated by 
a form-preserving instability, a fever of matter, which accom- 
panied the process of ceaseless decay and repair of albumen mole- 
cules that were too impossibly complicated, too impossibly ingen- 
ious in structure. It was the existence of the actually impossible-to- 
exist, of a half-sweet, half-painful balancing, or scarcely balancing, 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


276 

in this restricted and feverish process of decay and renewal, 
upon the point of existence. It was not matter and it was not spirit, 
but something between the two, a phenomenon conveyed by mat- 
ter, like the rainbow on the waterfall, and like the flame. Yet why 
not material — it was sentient to the point of desire and disgust, 
the shamelessness of matter become sensible of itself, the inconti- 
nent form of being. It was a secret and ardent stirring in the frozen 
chastity of the universal; it was a stolen and voluptuous impurity 
of sucking and secreting; an exhalation of carbonic acid gas and ma- 
terial impurities of mysterious origin and composition. It was a pul- 
lulation, an unfolding, a form-building (made possible by the over- 
balancing of its instability, yet controlled by the laws of growth 
inherent within it), of something brewed out of water, albumen, 
salt and fats, which was called flesh, and which became form, 
beauty, a lofty image, and yet all the time the essence of sensuality 
and desire. For this form and beauty were not spirit-borne; nor, 
like the form and beauty of sculpture, conveyed by a neutral and 
spirit-consumed substance, which could in all purity make beauty 
perceptible to the senses. Rather was it conveyed and shaped by 
the somehow awakened voluptuousness of matter, of the organic, 
dying-living substance itself, the reeking flesh. 

As he lay there above the glittering valley, lapped in the bodily 
warmth preserved to him by fur and wool, in the frosty night 
illumined by the brilliance from a lifeless star, the image of life 
displayed itself to young Hans Castorp. It hovered before him, 
somewhere in space, remote from his grasp, yet near his sense; this 
body, this opaquely whitish form, giving out exhalations, moist, 
clammy; the skin with all its blemishes and native impurities, with 
its spots, pimples, discolorations, irregularities; its homy, scalelike 
regions, covered over by soft streams and whorls of rudimentary 
lanugo. It leaned there, set off against the cold lifelessness of the 
inanimate world, in its own vaporous sphere, relaxed, the head 
crowned with something cool, horny, and pigmented, which was 
an outgrowth of its skin; the hands clasped at the back of the neck. 
It looked down at him beneath drooping lids, out of eyes made to 
appear slanting by a racial variation in the lid-formation. Its lips 
were half open, even a little curled. It rested its weight on one 
leg, the hip-bone stood out sharply under the flesh, while the other, 
relaxed, nestled its slightly bent knee against the inside of the sup- 
porting leg, and poised the foot only upon the toes. It leaned thus, 
turning to smile, the gleaming elbows akimbo, in the paired sym- 
metry of its limbs and trunk. The acrid, steaming shadows of the 
arm-pits corresponded in a mystic triangle to the pubic dark- 



RESEARCH 


2 77 

ness, just as the eyes did to the red, epithelial mouth-opening, and 
the red blossoms of the breast to the navel lying perpendicularly 
below. Under the impulsion of a central organ and of the motor 
nerves originating in the spinal marrow, chest and abdomen func- 
tioned, the peritoneal cavity expanded and contracted, the breath, 
warmed and moistened by the mucous membrane of the respira- 
tory canal, saturated with secretions, streamed out between the 
lips, after it had joined its oxygen to the haemoglobin of the blood 
in the air-cells of the lungs. For Hans Castorp understood that this 
living body, in the mysterious symmetry of its blood-nourished 
structure, penetrated throughout by nerves, veins, arteries, and 
capillaries; with its inner framework of bones — marrow-filled 
tubular bones, blade-bones, vertebrae — which with the addition 
of lime had developed out of the original gelatinous tissue and 
grown strong enough to support the body weight, with the cap- 
sules and well-oiled cavities, ligaments and cartilages of its joints, its 
more than two hundred muscles, its central organs that served for 
nutrition and respiration, for registering and transmitting stimuli, 
its protective membranes, serous cavities, its glands rich in secre- 
tions; with the system of vessels and fissures of its highly compli- 
cated interior surface, communicating through the body-openings 
with the outer world — he understood that this ego was a living unit 
of a very high order, remote indeed from those very simple forms 
of life which breathed, took in nourishment, even thought, with 
the entire surface of their bodies. He knew it was built up out of 
myriads of such small organisms, which had had their origin in a 
single one; which had multiplied by recurrent division, adapted 
themselves to the most varied uses and functions, separated, dif- 
ferentiated themselves, thrown out forms which were the condition 
and result of their growth. 

This body, then, which hovered before him, this individual and 
living I, was a monstrous multiplicity of breathing and self- 
nourishing individuals, which, through organic conformation and 
adaptation to special ends, had parted to such an extent with their 
essential individuality, their freedom and living immediacy, had 
so much become anatomic elements that the functions of some had 
become limited to sensibility toward light, sound, contact, warmth; 
others only understood how to change their shape or produce di- 
gestive secretions through contraction; others, again, were de- 
veloped and functional to no other end than protection, support, 
the conveyance of the body juices, or reproduction. There were 
modifications of this organic plurality united to form the higher 
ego: cases where the multitude of subordinate entities were only 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


278 

grouped in a loose and doubtful way to form a higher living unit. 
The student buried himself in the phenomenon of cell colonies; 
he read about half-organisms, algae, whose single cells, enveloped in 
a mantle of gelatine, often lay apart from one another, yet were 
multiple-cell formations, which, if they had been asked, would 
not have known whether to be rated as a settlement of single-celled 
individuals, or as an individual single unit, and, in bearing witness, 
would have vacillated quaintly between the I and the we. Nature 
here presented a middle stage, between the highly social union of 
countless elementary individuals to form the tissues and organs of 
a superior I, and the free individual existence of these simpler 
forms; the multiple-celled organism was only a stage in the cyclic 
process, which was the course of life itself, a periodic revolution 
from procreation to procreation. The act or fructification, the 
sexual merging of two cell-bodies, stood at the beginning of the 
upbuilding of every multiple-celled individual, as it did at the 
beginning of every row of generations of single elementary forms, 
and led back to itself. For this act was carried through many spe- 
cies which had no need of it to multiply by means of proliferation; 
until a moment came when the non-sexually produced offspring 
found themselves once more constrained to a renewal of the copu- 
lative function, and the circle came full. Such was the multiple 
state of life, sprung from the union of two parent cells, the asso- 
ciation of many non-sexually originated generations of cell units; 
its growth meant their increase, and the generative circle came 
full again when sex-cells, specially developed elements for the pur- 
pose of reproduction, had established themselves and found the 
way to a new mingling that drove life on afresh. 

Our young adventurer, supporting a volume of embryology 
on the pit of his stomach, followed the development of the or- 
ganism from the moment when the spermatozoon, first among 
a host of its fellows, forced itself forward by a lashing motion 
of its hinder part, struck with its forepart against the gelatine 
mantle of the egg, and bored its way into the mount of concep- 
tion, which the protoplasm of the outside of the ovum arched 
against its approach. There was no conceivable trick or absurdity 
it would not have pleased nature to commit by way of variation 
upon this fixed procedure. In some animals, the male was a para- 
site in the intestine of the female. In others, the male parent 
reached with his arm down the gullet of the female to deposit the 
semen within her; after which, bitten ofif and spat out, it ran away 
by itself upon its fingers, to the confusion of scientists, who fol 
long had given it Greek and Latin names as an independent form 


RESEARCH 


2 79 

of life. Hans Castorp lent an ear to the learned strife between 
ovists and animalculists: the first of whom asserted that the egg 
was in itself the complete little frog, dog, or human being, the male 
element being only the incitement to its growth; while the sec- 
ond saw in a spermatozoon, possessing head, arms, and legs, the 
perfected form of life shadowed forth, to which the egg performed 
only the office of “ nourisher in life’s feast.” In the end they agreed 
to concede equal meritoriousness to ovum and semen, both of 
which, after all, sprang from originally indistinguishable procre- 
ative cells. He saw the single-celled organism of the fructined egg 
on the point of being transformed into a multiple-celled organism, 
by striation and division; saw the cell-bodies attach themselves to 
the lamellae of the mucous membrane; saw the germinal vesicle, 
the blastula, close itself in to form a cup or basin-shaped cavity, 
and begin the functions of receiving and digesting food. That was 
the gastrula, the protozoon, primeval form of all animal life, pri- 
meval form of flesh-borne beauty. Its two epithelia, the outer and 
the inner, the ectoderm and the entoderm, proved to be primitive 
organs out of whose foldings-in and -out, were developed the 
glands, the tissues, the sensory organs, the body processes. A strip 
of the outer germinal layer, the ectoderm, thickened, folded into a 
groove, closed itself into a nerve canal, became a spinal column, 
became the brain. And as the foetal slime condensed into fibrous 
connective tissue, into cartilage, the colloidal cells beginning to 
show gelatinous substance instead of mucin, he saw in certain 
places the connective tissue take lime and fat to itself out of the 
sera that washed it, and begin to form bone. Embryonic man 
squatted in a stooping posture, tailed, indistinguishable from em- 
bryonic pig; with enormous abdomen and stumpy, formless ex- 
tremities, the facial mask bowed over the swollen paunch; the 
story of his growth seemed a grim, unflattering science, like the 
cursory record of a zoological family tree. For a while he had gill- 
pockets like a roach. It seemed permissible, or rather unavoidable, 
contemplating the various stages of development through which 
he passed, to infer the very little humanistic aspect presented by 
primitive man in his mature state. His skin was furnished with 
twitching muscles to keep off insects; it was thickly covered with 
hair; there was a tremendous development of the mucous mem- 
brane of the olfactory organs; his ears protruded, were movable, 
took a lively part in the play of the features, and were much better 
adapted than ours for catching sounds. His eyes were protected 
by a third, nictating lid; they were placed sidewise, excepting the 
third, of which the pineal gland was the rudimentary trace, and 


J 



THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


280 

which was able, looking upwards, to guard him from dangers from 
the upper air. Primitive man had a very long intestine, many 
molars, and sound-pouches on the lamyx the better to roar 
with, also he carried his sex-glands on the inside of the intestinal 
cavity. 

Anatomy presented our investigator w r ith charts of human limbs, 
skinned and prepared for his inspection; he saw their superficial 
and their buried muscles, sinews, and tendons: those of the thighs, 
the foot, and especially of the arm, the upper and the forearm. 
He learned the Latin names with which medicine, that subdivision 
of the humanities, had gallantly equipped them. He passed on to 
the skeleton, the development of which presented new points of 
view — among them a clear perception of the essential unity of all 
that pertains to man, the correlation of all branches of learning. 
For here, strangely enough, he found himself reminded of his own 
field — or shall we say his former field? — the scientific calling 
which he had announced himself as having embraced, introducing 
himself thus to Dr. Krokowski and Herr Settembrini on his ar- 
rival up here. In order to leam something — it had not much mat- 
tered what — he had learned in his technical school about statics, 
about supports capable of flexion, about loads, about construction 
as the advantageous utilization of mechanical material. It would of 
course be childish to think that the science of engineering, the 
rules of mechanics, had found application to organic nature; 
but just as little might one say that they had been derived from 
organic nature. It was simply that the mechanical laws found 
themselves repeated and corroborated in nature. The principle 
of the hollow cylinder was illustrated in the structure of the 
tubular bones, in such a way that the static demands were satis- 
fied with the precise minimum of solid structure. Hans Castorp 
had learned that a body which is put together out of staves and 
bands of mechanically utilizable matter, conformably to the de- 
mands made by draught and pressure upon it, can withstand the 
same weight as a solid column of the same material. Thus in the 
development of the tubular bones, it was comprehensible that, 
step for step with the formation of the solid exterior, the inner 
parts, which were mechanically superfluous, changed to a fatty 
tissue, the marrow. The thigh-bone was a crane, in the construction 
of which organic nature, by the direction she had given the shaft, 
carried out, to a hair, the same draught- and pressure-curves which 
Hans Castorp had had to plot in drawing an instrument serving a 
similar purpose. He contemplated this fact with pleasure; he en- 
joyed the reflection that his relation to the femur, or to organic 



RESEARCH 


28l 

nature generally was now threefold: it was lyrical, it was medical, 
it was technological; and all of these, he felt, were one in being 
human, they were variations of one and the same pressing human 
concern, they were schools of humanistic thought. 

But with all this the achievements of the protoplasm remained 
unaccountable: it seemed forbidden to life that it should under- 
stand itself. Most of the bio-chemical processes were not only 
unknown, it lay in their very nature that they should escape at- 
tention. Almost nothing was known of the structure or composi- 
tion of the living unit called the “ cell.” What use was there in 
establishing the components of lifeless muscle, when the living 
did not let itself be chemically examined? The changes that took 
place when the rigor mortis set in were enough to make worthless 
all investigation. Nobody understood metabolism, nobody under- 
stood the true inwardness of the functioning of the nervous sys- 
tem. To what properties did the taste corpuscles owe their 
reaction? In what consisted the various kinds of excitation of cer- 
tain sensory nerves by odour-possessing substances? In what, in- 
deed, the property of smell itself? The specific odours of man and 
beast consisted in the vaporization of certain unknown substances. 
The composition of the secretion called sweat was little under- 
stood. The glands that secreted it produced aromata which among 
mammals undoubtedly played an important role, but whose sig- 
nificance for the human species we were not in a position to ex- 
plain. The physiological significance of important regions of the 
body was shrouded in darkness. No need to mention the vermi- 
form appendix, which was a mystery; in rabbits it was regularly 
found full of a pulpy substance, of which there was nothing to 
say as to how it got in or renewed itself. But what about the white 
and grey substance which composed the medulla, what of the 
optic thalamus and the grey inlay of the pons V arolii? The sub- 
stance composing the brain and marrow was so subject to dis- 
integration, there was no hope whatever of determining its struc- 
ture. What was it relieved the cortex of activity during slumber? 
What prevented the stomach from digesting itself — as sometimes, 
in fact, did happen after death? One might answer, life: a special 
power of resistance of the living protoplasm; but this would be 
not to recognize the mystical character of such an explanation. 
The theory of such an everyday phenomenon as fever was full 
of contradictions. Heightened oxidization resulted in increased 
warmth, but why was there not an increased expenditure of 
warmth to correspond? Did the paralysis of the sweat-secretions 
depend upon contraction of the skin? But such contraction took 


282 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


place only in the case of “ chills and fever,” for otherwise, in fever, 
the skin was more likely to be hot. Prickly heat indicated the 
central nervous system as the seat of the causes of heightened 
catabolism as well as the source of that condition of the skin which 
we were content to call abnormal, because we did not know how 
to define it. 

But what was all this ignorance, compared with our utter help- 
lessness in the presence of such a phenomenon as memory, or of 
that other more prolonged and astounding memory which we 
called the inheritance of acquired characteristics? Out of the 
question to get even a glimpse of any mechanical possibility of 
explication of such performances on the part of the cell-substance. 
The spermatozoon that conveyed to the egg countless complicated 
individual and racial characteristics of the father was visible only 
through a microscope; even the most powerful magnification was 
not enough to show it as other than a homogeneous body, or to 
determine its origin; it looked the same in one animal as in another. 
These factors forced one to the assumption that the cell was in 
the same case as with the higher form it went to build up: that 
it too was already a higher form, composed in its turn by the 
division of living bodies, individual living units. Thus one passed 
from the supposed smallest unit to a still smaller one; one was 
driven to separate the elementary into its elements. No doubt at 
all but just as the animal kingdom was composed of various species 
of animals, as the human-animal organism was composed of a 
whole animal kingdom of cell species, so the cell organism was 
composed of a new and varied animal kingdom of elementary units, 
far below microscopic size, which grew spontaneously, increased 
spontaneously according to the law that each could bring forth 
only after its kind, and, acting on the principle of a division of 
labour, served together the next higher order of existence. 

Those were the genes, the living germs, bioblasts, biophores 
— lying there in the frosty night, Hans Castorp rejoiced to make 
acquaintance with them by name. Yet how, he asked himself ex- 
citedly, even after more light on the subject was forthcoming, 
how could their elementary nature be established? If they were 
living, they must be organic, since life depended upon organiza- 
tion. But if they were organized, then they could not be ele- 
mentary, since an organism is not single but multiple. They were 
units within the organic unit of the cell they built up. But if they 
were, then, however impossibly small they were, they must them- 
selves be built up, organically built up, as a law of their existence; 
for the conception of a living unit meant by definition that it was 


RESEARCH 


283 

built up out of smaller units which were subordinate; that is, 
organized with reference to a higher form. As long as division 
yielded organic units possessing the properties of life — assimila- 
tion and reproduction — no limits were set to it. As long as one 
spoke of living units, one could not correctly speak of elementary 
units, for the concept of unity carried with it in perpetuity the 
concept of subordinated, upbuilding unity; and there was no such 
thing as elementary life, in the sense of something that was already 
life, and yet elementary. 

And still, though without logical existence, something of the 
kind must be eventually the case; for it was not possible to brush 
aside like that the idea of the original procreation, the rise of life 
out of what was not life. That gap which in exterior nature we 
vainly sought to close, that between living and dead matter, had 
its counterpart in nature’s organic existence, and must somehow 
either be closed up or bridged over. Soon or late, division must 
yield “ units ” which, even though in composition, were not organ- 
ized, and which mediated between life and absence of life; molec- 
ular groups, which represented the transition between vitalized 
organization and mere chemistry. But then, arrived at the mole- 
cule, one stood on the brink of another abyss, which yawned yet 
more mysteriously than that between organic and inorganic na- 
ture: the gulf between the material and the immaterial. For the 
molecule was composed of atoms, and the atom was nowhere near 
large enough even to be spoken of as extraordinarily small. It was 
so small, such a tiny, early, transitional mass, a coagulation of the 
unsubstantial, of the not-yet-substantial and yet substance-like, of 
energy, that it was scarcely possible yet — or, if it had been, was 
now no longer possible — to think of it as material, but rather as 
mean and border-line between material and immaterial. The prob- 
lem of another original procreation arose, far more wild and mys- 
terious than the organic: the primeval birth of matter out of the 
immaterial. In fact the abyss between material and immaterial 
yawned as widely, pressed as importunately — yes, more impor- 
tunately — to be closed, as that between organic and inorganic 
nature. There must be a chemistry of the immaterial, there must be 
combinations of the insubstantial, out of which sprang the material 
— the atoms might represent protozoa of material, by their nature 
substance and still not yet quite substance. Yet arrived at the 44 not 
even small,” the measure slipped out of the hands; for 44 not even 
small ” meant much the same as 44 enormously large ”; and the step 
to the atom proved to be without exaggeration portentous in the 
highest degree. For at the very moment when one had assisted at 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


284 

the final division of matter, when one had divided it into the im- 
possibly small, at that moment there suddenly appeared upon the 
norizon the astronomical cosmos! 

The atom was a cosmic system, laden with energy; in which 
heavenly bodies rioted rotating about a centre like a sun; through 
whose ethereal space comets drove with the speed of light years, 
kept in their eccentric orbits by the power of the central body. 
And that was as little a mere comparison as it would be were one 
to call the body of any multiple-celled organism a “ cell state.” 
The city, the state, the social community regulated according to 
the principle of division of labour, not only might be compared to 
organic life, it actually reproduced its conditions. Thus in the in- 
most recesses of nature, as in an endless succession of mirrors, was 
reflected the macrocosm of the heavens, whose clusters, throngs, 
groups, and figures, paled by the brilliant moon, hung over the 
dazzling, frost-bound valley, above the head of our muffled adept. 
Was it too bold a thought that among the planets of the atomic 
solar system — those myriads and milky ways of solar systems 
which constituted matter — one or other of these inner-worldly 
heavenly bodies might find itself in a condition corresponding to 
that which made it possible for our earth to become the abode of 
life? For a young man already rather befuddled inwardly, suffering 
from abnormal skin-conditions, who was not without all and any 
experience in the realm of the illicit, it was a speculation which, far 
from being absurd, appeared so obvious as to leap to the eyes, 
highly evident, and bearing the stamp of logical truth. The “ small- 
ness ” of these inner-worldly heavenly bodies would have been an 
objection irrelevant to the hypothesis; since the conception of large 
or small had ceased to be pertinent at the moment when the cosmic 
character of the “ smallest ” particle of matter had been revealed; 
while at the same time, the conceptions of “ outside ” and “ inside ” 
had also been shaken. The atom-world was an “ outside,” as, very 
probably, the earthly star on which we dwelt was, organically re- 
garded, deeply “ inside.” Had not a researcher once, audaciously 
fanciful, referred to the “ beasts of the Milky Way,” cosmic mon- 
sters whose flesh, bone, and brain were built up out of solar sys- 
tems? But in that case, Hans Castorp mused, then in the moment 
when one thought to have come to the end, it all began over again 
from the beginning! For then, in the very innermost of his nature, 
and in the inmost of that innermost, perhaps there was just himself, 
just Hans Castorp, again and a hundred times Hans Castorp, with 
burning face and stiffening fingers, lying muffled on a balcony, 
with a view across the moonlit, frost-nighted high valley, and prob- 



RESEARCH 285 

ing, with an interest both humanistic and medical, into the life of 
the body! 

He held a volume of pathological anatomy in the red ray from 
his table-lamp, and conned its text and numerous reproductions. 
He read of the existence of parasitic cell-juncture and of infec- 
tious tumours. These were forms of tissue — and very luxuriant 
forms too — produced by foreign cell-bodies in an organism which 
had proved receptive to them, and in some way or other — one 
must probably say perversely — had offered them peculiarly fa- 
vourable conditions. It was not so much that the parasite took away 
nourishment from the surrounding tissues, as that, in the process of 
building up and breaking down which went on in it as in every 
other cell, it produced organic combinations which were extraor- 
dinarily toxic — undeniably destructive — to the cells where it had 
been entertained. They had found out how to isolate the toxin from 
a number of micro-organisms and produce it in concentrated form; 
and it was amazing to see what small doses of this substance, which 
simply belonged to a group of protein combinations, could, when 
introduced into the circulation of an animal, produce symptoms 
of acute poisoning and rapid degeneration. The outward sign of 
this inward decay was a growth of tissue, the pathological tumour, 
which was the reaction of the cells to the stimulus of the foreign 
bacilli. Tubercles developed, the size of a millet-seed, composed 
of cells resembling mucous membrane, among or within which the 
bacilli lodged; some of these were extraordinarily rich in proto- 
plasm, very large, and full of nuclei. However, all this good living 
soon led to ruin; for the nuclei of these monster cells began to 
break down, the protoplasm they contained to be destroyed by 
coagulation, and further areas of tissue to be involved. They were 
attacked by inflammation, the neighbouring blood-vessels suffered 
by contagion. White blood-corpuscles were attracted to the seat 
of the evil; the breaking-down proceeded apace; and meanwhile 
the soluble toxins released by the bacteria had already poisoned the 
nerve-centres, the entire organization was in a state of high fever, 
and staggered — ■ so to speak with heaving bosom — toward dissolu- 
tion. 

Thus far pathology, the theory of disease, the accentuation of 
the physical through pain; yet, in so far as it was the accentuation 
of the physical, at the same time accentuation through desire. Dis- 
ease was a perverse, a dissolute form of life. And life? Life itself? 
Was it perhaps only an infection, a sickening of matter? Was that 
which one might call the original procreation of matter only a 
disease, a growth produced by morbid stimulation of the imma- 


286 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


terial? The first step toward evil, toward desire and death, was 
taken precisely then, when there took place that first increase in 
the density of the spiritual, that pathologically luxuriant morbid 
growth, produced by the irritant of some unknown infiltration; 
this, in part pleasurable, in part a motion of self-defence, was the 
primeval stage of matter, the transition from the insubstantial to 
the substance. This was the Fall. The second creation, the birth of 
the organic out of the inorganic, was only another fatal stage in the 
progress of the corporeal toward consciousness, just as disease 
in the organism was an intoxication, a heightening and unlicensed 
accentuation of its physical state; and life, life was nothing but the 
next step on the recldess path of the spirit dishonoured; nothing 
but the automatic blush of matte? roused to sensation and become 
receptive for that which awaked it. 

The books lay piled upon the table, one lay on the matting next 
his chair; that which he had latest read rested upon Hans Castorp’s 
stomach and oppressed his breath; yet no order went from the 
cortex to the muscles in charge to take it away. He had read down 
the page, his chin had sunk upon his chest, over his innocent blue 
eyes the lids had fallen. He beheld the image of life in flower, its 
structure, its flesh-borne loveliness. She had lifted her hands from 
behind her head, she opened her arms. On their inner side, par- 
ticularly beneath the tender skin of the elbow-points, he saw the 
blue branchings of the larger veins. These arms were of unspeak- 
able sweetness. She leaned above him, she inclined unto him and 
bent down over him, he was conscious of her organic fragrance and 
the mild pulsation of her heart. Something warm and tender clasped 
him round the neck; melted with desire and awe, he laid his hands 
upon the flesh of her upper arms, where the fine-grained skin over 
the triceps came to his sense so heavenly cool; and upon his lips 
he felt the moist clinging of her kiss. 

The Dance of Death 

Not long after Christmas, the gentleman rider died. — But before 
that event the Christmas holidays came and went, the two, or if you 
reckoned Holy Night the three feast-days, to which Hans Castorp 
had looked forward with some alarm and head-shaking dubiety, as 
to what they would really be like, up here. In the event, they came 
on and passed like other days, with a morning, an afternoon, and an 
evening; only moderately unreasonable in respect of weather — it 
thawed a little — and not greatly different from others of their kind. 
Outwardly, they had been somewhat garnished and set off; in- 



THE DANCE OF DEATH 287 

wardly they had held sway in the heads and hearts of men for their 
appointed time; then, leaving behind them some deposit of impres- 
sions out of the common run, they slipped away into the recent, 
then into the distant past. 

The Hofrat’s son, Knut by name, came for the holidays and 
lived with his father in the wing of the building; a good-looking 
young man, save that his cervical vertebra was already too promi- 
nent. The presence of young Behrens could be felt in the air: the 
ladies showed a proneness to laugh, to bicker, and to adorn their 
persons. They boasted in conversation of having met Knut in the 
garden, the wood, or the English quarter. He himself had guests: 
a number of his fellow students came up to the valley, six or seven 
young men who lodged in the village but ate at the Hofrat’s table, 
and with others of their corps scoured the region in a body. Hans 
Castorp avoided them. He gave them a wide berth with Joachim 
whenever necessary; he felt no least desire to meet them. A whole 
world divided those up here from these singing, roving, staff- 
brandishing youths — he wished neither to see nor to hear anything 
of them. They looked, most of them, like northerners, there might 
be Hamburgers among them; and Hans Castorp felt very shy of 
meeting his fellow townsmen. He had often uncomfortably con- 
sidered the possibility that somebody or other from home might 
arrive at the Berghof — had not the Hofrat said that Hamburg al- 
ways furnished a handsome contingent to the establishment? There 
might be some among the bedridden and moribund; but the only 
one visible was a hollow-cheeked business man, said to come from 
Cuxhaven, who had been sitting for two weeks at Frau Iltis’s table. 
Hans Castorp, seeing him, rejoiced in the knowledge that one came 
little into touch with guests at other tables than one’s own; and 
further, that his native sphere was an extended one. He saw that 
the presence of the man from Cuxhaven made no difference to his 
happiness, and this went far to relieve his fears about the arrival of 
other Hamburgers. 

Christmas eve came on apace, one day it was at hand, the next 
it was here. When first it had been talked of at table — to Hans 
Castorp’s great surprise — it had been yet a good six weeks away, 
as much time as his original term up here, plus the three weeks in 
bed. But those first six weeks, as he thought of them in retrospect, 
seemed a very long time, while the six just passed had been insig- 
nificant. His fellow-guests were right to make light of them. Six 
weeks, why, that was not so many as the week had days; little in- 
deed, when one considered what a small affair a week was, from 
Monday to Sunday and then Monday again. One needed only to 


288 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


see how valueless the next smaller time-unit was to realize that not 
much could come even of a whole row of them put together. 
Rather the total effect was to intensify the process of contraction, 
shrinkage, blurring, and effacement. What was one day, taken for 
instance from the moment one sat down to the midday meal to the 
same moment four-and-twenty hours afterwards? It was, to be 
sure, four-and-twenty hours — but equally it was the simple sum 
of nothings. Or take an hour spent in the rest-cure, at the dinner- 
table, or on the daily walk — and these ways of employing the time- 
unit practically exhausted its possibilities — what was an hour? 
Again, nothing. And nothing were all these nothings, they were 
not serious in the nature of them, taken together. The only unit 
it was possible to regard with seriousness was the smallest one of 
all: those seven times sixty seconds during which one held the ther- 
mometer between one’s lips and continued one’s curve — they, 
indeed, were full of matter and tenacious of life; they could ex- 
pand into a little eternity; they formed small concretions of high 
density within the scurrying shadows of time’s general course. 

The holidays disturbed but little the even tenor of the Berghof 
ways. A well-grown fir-tree had been set up a few days before- 
hand on the right-hand wall of the dining-room, the side wall next 
the “ bad ” Russian table; a waft of its fragrance came to the noses 
of the diners now and then, above the heavy odours of the food, 
and wakened something like pensiveness in the eyes of a few among 
the guests seated at the seven tables. When they came to supper on 
the twenty-fourth, they found the tree gaily decked with tinsel, 
little glass balls, gilded pine-cones, tiny apples in nets, and varied 
confections. The coloured wax tapers burned throughout the meal 
and afterwards. And a tiny, taper-decked tree burned likewise, it 
was said, in the rooms of the bedridden and moribund — each had 
his own. The parcel post in the last few days had been very heavy. 
Joachim Ziemssen and Hans Castorp received carefully packed 
remembrances from their far-away home, and spread them out in 
their rooms: judicious gifts of cravats and other articles of cloth- 
ing, expensive trifles in leather and nickel, and quantities of Christ- 
mas cakes, nuts, apples and marzipan — the cousins looked doubt- 
fully at these last supplies, wondering whenever they should have 
occasion to consume them. Schalleen, as Hans Castorp knew, had 
not only packed his presents, but bought them, after consultation 
with the uncles. There was a letter too from James Tienappel, 
typescript to be sure, but upon heavy paper with his private letter- 
head, commurJ eating his own and his father’s best wishes for the 
holidays and f oi : >peedy recovery, and including at once greetings 


THE DANCE OF DEATH 


289 

for the oncoming New Year as well — a sensible and practical pro- 
cedure, which followed Hans Castorp’s own: he having sent his 
Christmas messages betimes, under cover with the monthly clinical 
report. 

The tree in the dining-room burned, crackled, and dispensed 
its fragrance, waking the minds and hearts of the guests to a realiza- 
tion of the day. People had dressed for dinner, the men wore eve- 
ning clothes and the women jewels, mayhap presents from loving 
husbands down below. Clavdia Chauchat had exchanged the cus- 
tomary sweater for a frock with a hint of the fanciful about it, 
suggesting a national costume — Russian peasant, or Balkan, per- 
haps Bulgarian; a light-coloured, flowing, and girdled arrangement, 
embroidered, and set with tiny tinsel ornaments. Such a garment 
gave her figure an unwonted softness and fullness, and suited what 
Settembrini called her “ Tartar physiognomy,” particularly the 
“ prairie-wolfs eyes.” They were gay at the “ good ” Russian table; 
there the first champagne cork was heard to pop. It set the example, 
which was followed by nearly all the others. At the cousins’ table it 
was the great-aunt who dispensed champagne for her niece and 
Marusja, and treated the others as well. The menu was choice. It 
finished with cheese straws and bon-bons, to which the guests 
added coffee and liqueurs. Now and then a twig would flare up on 
the Christmas-tree; there would be work to put it out, and shrill, 
immoderate panic among the ladies. Toward the end of the meal 
Settembrini came to sit for a while at the end of the cousins’ table; 
he wore his everyday clothes, and sported his toothpick. He 
quizzed Frau Stohr with spirit, and made a few remarks about the 
carpenter’s son and rabbi of humanity, whose birthday they fan- 
cied they were celebrating to-day. Whether he had actually lived, 
Settembrini said, was uncertain; yet his time had given birth to an 
idea, which had continued its triumphant course even up to to-day: 
the idea of the dignity of the human spirit, the idea of equality — 
in a word, they were celebrating the birth of individualistic democ- 
racy, and to it he would empty the glass they gave him. Frau 
Stohr found his remarks equivoque and unfeeling: she rose under 
protest to the toast, and as the other tables were being emptied, 
they followed the general movement toward the drawing-rooms. 

Hof rat Behrens, with Knut and Fraulein von Mylendonk, at- 
tended the social evening for half an hour. The occasion was to 
be signalized by the presentation of the gift to the head of the es- 
tablishment, which accordingly took place, in the room with the 
optical apparatus. The Russians presented their gift, a large round 
silver plate, with the Hofraf s monogram engraved in the middle; 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


290 

its utter inutility was plain to every eye. He might at least lie on 
the chaise-longue which was the gift of the rest of the guests — 
though it was at present without cover or cushions, having merely 
a cloth drawn over it. The head end was adjustable; Behrens 
stretched out full length, with his silver plate under his arm, closed 
his eyes, and began to snore like a saw-mill, giving out that he was 
Fafnir with the treasure hoard. Much laughter and applause en- 
sued; Frau Chauchat laughed so hard that her eyes became two 
cracks, and her mouth stood open — precisely, Hans Castorp re- 
marked, as had been the case with Pribislav Hippe when he 
laughed. 

Directly the head went out, the guests sat down to cards, the 
Russians occupying, as usual, the small salon. Some of the patients 
still stood about the room where the Christmas-tree was, watching 
the candle stumps die down in their sockets, and munching the 
goodies hanging from the boughs. Here and there at the tables, 
which were already laid for breakfast, sat a solitary person, with 
his head on his hand, silently brooding. 

Christmas-day was damp and misty. These were clouds they 
were among, Behrens asserted; mist there was none, up here. But 
mist or clouds, the damp was perceptible. The surface of the lying 
snow began to thaw, grew soft and porous. In the rest-cure, one’s 
face and hands were stiff and red — one suffered far more than in 
colder, sunny weather. 

The feast-day was marked by an evening concert, a real concert 
with rows of chairs and printed programmes, offered to the guests 
by House Berghof; consisting of songs by a professional singer 
who lived up here and gave lessons. She wore two medals pinned 
side by side on her corsage, had arms like sticks, and a voice whose 
peculiar toneless quality cast a saddening light upon the grounds 
for her stay in these regions. She sang: 

lch trage meine Mirme 

Mit rmr heriwt. 

Her accompanist was likewise a resident. Frau Chauchat sat in the 
first row, but took advantage of the intermission to go out, leaving 
Hans Castorp free to enjoy the music in peace — after all, it was 
music — and to read the text of the songs, as printed upon the pro- 
gramme. Herr Settembrini sat awhile beside him, and made a few 
plastic and resilient phrases upon the dull quality of the singer’s 
bel canto , expressing also ironic satisfaction over the home talent 
displayed in the entertainment. It was so charming, he said, that 
they were just among themselves. Then he too went away — to tell 



THE DANCE OF DEATH 


291 

truth, Hans Castorp was not sorry to see the backs of them both, 
the narrow-eyed one and the pedagogue; he could the better de- 
vote himself to the singing, and draw comfort from the reflection 
that all over the world, even in the most extraordinary places, music 
was made — very likely even on polar expeditions. 

One had a slight differentiating consciousness of the day after 
Christmas, something that just made it not quite the same as an 
ordinary Sunday or week-day. Then it was over, and the whole 
holiday lay in the past — or, equally, it lav in the distant future, a 
year away: twelve months would bring it round again, seven more 
than the time Hans Castorp had spent up here. 

But just after the Christmas season, and before the New Year 
broke, the gentleman rider died. The cousins learnt of the death 
from Fritz Rotbein’s nurse, Alfreda Schildknecht, called Sister 
Berta, who met them in the corridor and discreetly communicated 
the sad event. Hans Castorp felt a profound interest; partly because 
the signs of life he had heard from the gentleman rider were among 
the earliest impressions of his stay up here, those which had first, 
or so it seemed to him, called up the flush to his face which since 
had never left it; but partly also upon moral, one might almost say 
upon spiritual grounds. He detained Joachim long in talk with the 
deaconess, who hung with the extreme of pleasure upon their con- 
versation. It was a wonder, she said, that the gentleman rider had 
lived over the holidays. He had long since shown himself a doughty 
cavalier, but what it was he breathed with, at the end, nobody could 
tell. For days and days he had lived only by the aid of enormous 
quantities of oxygen. Yesterday alone he had consumed forty con- 
tainers, at six francs apiece — that mounted up, the gentlemen could 
reckon the cost themselves; and his wife, in whose arms he had 
died, was left wholly penniless. Joachim expressed disapproval of 
the expenditure. Why delay by these torturing and costly artificial 
expedients a death absolutely certain to supervene? One could not 
blame the man for blindly consuming the precious gas they urged 
upon him. But those in charge should have behaved with more 
reason, they should have let him go his way, in God’s name, quite 
aside from the circumstances, more so when taking them into con- 
sideration. The living, after all, had their rights — and so on. Hans 
Castorp disagreed emphatically. His cousin, he said, talked almost 
like Settembrini, without any regard or reverence for suffering. 
The man had died in the end, that finished it; there was no more to 
be done to show one’s concern, and it had been due to the dying 
to spend what one could. Thus Hans Castorp. He only hoped the 
Hofrat had not showed a lack of decent feeling by railing at the 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


2 9 2 

poor man at the end. There had been no need, Fraulein Schild- 
knecht said. Only one little thoughtless effort he had made to es- 
cape, to spring out of bed; but the merest hint of the futility of 
such a proceeding had been enough to make him desist once and 
for all. 

Hans Castorp went to view the gentleman rider’s mortal remains. 
He did this of set purpose, to show his contempt for the prevailing 
system of secrecy, to protest against the egotistic policy of seeing 
and hearing nothing of such events; to register by his act his dis- 
approval of the others’ practice. He had tried to introduce the 
subject of the death at table, but was met with such a flat and 
callous rebuff on all sides as both to anger and embarrass him. Frau 
Stohr had been downright gruff. What did he mean by introduc- 
ing such a subject — what kind of upbringing had he had? The 
house regulations protected the patients from having such things 
come to their knowledge; and now here was a young whipper- 
snapper bringing it up at table, and even in the presence of Dr. 
Blumenkohl, whom the same fate might any day overtake (this 
behind her hand). If it happened again, she would complain. Then 
it was that, thus reproved, Hans Castorp had taken — and expressed 
- a resolve: he would visit their departed comrade, and discharge 
the last duty of silent respect toward his remains. He persuaded 
Joachim to do the same. 

Sister Berta arranged that they be admitted to the gentleman 
rider’s room, which lay in the first storey beneath their own. The 
widow received them — a small, distracted blonde, much reduced 
by night watching, with a red nose, her handkerchief before her 
mouth, and wearing a plaid cloak, with the collar turned up, as it 
was very cold in the room. The heat was turned off, the balcony 
door stood open. The young people said what was fitting to say, 
in voices respectfully subdued; then, upon a woeful gesture from 
the widow, they passed through the room to the bed, walking on 
their tiptoes and weaving reverently forward. They stood by the 
dead, each after his fashion: Joachim with heels together, half in- 
clined in a salute, Hans Castorp relaxed and pensive, with hands 
clasped before him and head on one side, much as he often stood to 
listen to music. The gentleman rider lay with his head pillowed 
high, so that his body, that elongated structure, the outgrowth of 
life’s manifold processes, with the elevation of the feet at the end 
beneath the sheet, looked very flat, almost like a board. A garland 
of flowers lay at about the knees; a palm-leaf outstanding from it 
touched the great, yellow, bony hands resting crossed upon the 
sunken breast. Yellow and bony was the face too, with its bald skull 


THE DANCE OF DEATH 


293 

and hooked nose, its angular cheek-bones and bushy, reddish- 
yellow moustaches, whose full curve gave the grey and stubbly 
hollows of the cheeks a yet hollower look. The eyes were closed, 
with a certain unnatural definiteness — pressed down, not shut, 
thought Hans Castorp. That was what they called the last service 
of love; but it happened rather as a service to the survivors than to 
the dead. And it must be done betimes too, soon after death; for if 
the myosin process went far in the muscles, it would be too late, 
he would lie there and stare and one could no longer sustain the 
illusion of his slumber. 

Perfectly at home, in more than one respect in his element, Hans 
Castorp stood at the bier, expertly reverential. “ He seems to 
sleep,” said he, humanely; though such was far from being the 
case. Then, in a voice appropriately subdued, he began a conver- 
sation with the widow, eliciting information about the sufferings, 
the last days and moments of her departed husband, and the ar- 
rangements for transporting the body to Carinthia; displaying a 
sympathy and conversance that was in part physicianly, in part 
priestly and moralizing. The widow, speaking in her drawling, 
nasal, Austrian accent, with now and then a sob, found it remark- 
able that young folk should so occupy themselves with a stranger’s 
pain. Hans Castorp answered that he and his cousin were them- 
selves ill; that he, when still very young, had stood at the death- 
bed of near relatives; he was a double orphan, and, if he might say 
so, long familiar with the sight of death. She asked what profession 
he had chosen; he replied that he “ had been ” an engineer. 

“ Had been 5 ” she queried. 

“ Had been,” he replied, in the sense that his illness and a stay 
up here of still undetermined length had come between him and 
his work; that might mean a considerable interruption, even a 
turning-point in his career, he could not tell. Joachim, at this, 
searched his face in some alarm. And his cousin 5 He was a soldier, 
was at present in training for an officer. 

“ Ah,” she said, “ the trade of a soldier is another serious calling, 
one must be prepared to come into close touch with death, it is 
well to accustom oneself to the sight beforehand.” She dismissed 
the cousins with thanks and expressions of friendliness, which could 
not but touch them, considering her distressed state, and the bill 
for oxygen her departed husband had left behind him. 

They returned to their own storey, Hans Castorp greatly pleased 
and edified by the visit. 

“ Requiescat in pace” he said. “ Sit tibi terra levis. Requiem 
cetemam dona ei, Domine. You see, when death is in question, when 


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294 

one speaks to or of the dead, then the Latin comes in force; it is, so 
to say, the official language. So then you see that death is a thing 
apart. But it isn’t a humanistic gesture, speaking Latin in honour 
of death; and the Latin isn’t what you learn at school, either — the 
spirit of it is quite different, one might almost say hostile. It is 
ecclesiastical Latin, monkish Latin, mediaeval dialect, a sort of dull, 
monotonous, underground chanting. Settembrini has no use for it, 
it is nothing for humanists and republicans and suchlike peda- 
gogues, it comes from quite another point of the compass. I find 
one ought to be clear about these two intellectual trends, or perhaps 
it would be better to say states of mind: I mean the devout and the 
free-thinking. They both have their good sides; what I have against 
Settembrini’s — the free-thinking line — is that he seems to imagine 
it has a corner in human dignity. That’s exaggerated, I consider, 
because the other has its own kind of dignity too, and makes for a 
tremendous lot of decorum and correct bearing and uplifting cere- 
mony; more, in fact, than the free-thinking, when you remember 
it has our human infirmity and proneness to err directly in mind, 
and thoughts of death and decay play such an important role in it. 
Have you seen Don Carlos given at the theatre? Do you remember 
at the Spanish court, when King Philip comes in, all in black, with 
the Garter and the Golden Fleece, and takes off his hat — it looks 
pretty much like one of our melons — he lifts it from the top, and 
says: ‘ Cover, my lords,’ or something like that? That is the last 
degree of formality, I should think; no talk of any free-and-easy 
manners there! The Queen herself says: ‘ In my own France how 
different! ’ Of course it is too precise for her, too fussy, she would 
like it a little gayer and more human. But what is human? Every- 
thing is human. I find all that strict punctilio and God-fearing 
solemnity of the Spanish is a very dignified kind of humanity; 
while on the other hand the word human can be used to cover up 
God knows what loose and slovenly ways — you know that your- 
self.” 

“ I do indeed,” Joachim said. “ Naturally, I can’t abide any kind 
of looseness or slovenliness. There must be discipline.” 

“ Yes, you say that as a soldier; and I must admit the military 
has an understanding of these matters. The widow was right when 
she said your trade is a solemn one, that has to reckon on coming 
to grips with death. You have your tight-fitting, immaculate uni- 
form, with a stiff collar — there’s your bienseance for you; then 
your regulations of rank, and military obedience, and all the forms 
you preserve toward each other — quite in the Spanish spirit, there 
is something reverent about it, I can do with it very well, at bot- 


THE DANCE OF DEATH 


2 95 


tom. We civilians ought to show more of the same spirit in our 
customs and manners, I should really like it, and find it fitting. I 
think the world, and life generally, is such as to make it appropriate 
for us all to wear black, with a starched ruff instead of your stand- 
up collar; and for all our intercourse with each other to be 
subdued and ceremonial, and mindful of death. That would seem 
right and moral to me. There is another of Settembrini’s arrogant 
ideas; I may tell him so, some time: he thinks he has a monopoly 
of morals as well as of human dignity — with his talk about ‘ prac- 
tical life-work ’ and Sunday services in the name of ‘ progress ’ — 
as though one hadn’t something else to think about, on Sundays, 
besides progress! — and his ‘ systematic elimination of suffering ’; 
you have not heard anything about that, but he has instructed me 
on the subject, and it is to be systematically eliminated by means 
of a lexicon. I may find all that positively immoral — but what of 
it? I don’t tell him so, naturally. He fairly goes for me, you know, 
of course in his plastic way, and says: * I warn you, Engineer.’ But 
a person can take leave to think what he pleases, at least: ‘ Sire, 
grant freedom of thought.’ Let me tell you something,” he went 
on — they had by now arrived in Joachim’s room, and Joachim was 
making ready for the rest-cure — “ let me tell you something I pro- 
pose to do. We live up here, next door to the dying, close to misery 
and suffering; and not only we act as though we had nothing to do 
with it, but it is all carefully arranged in order to spare us and pre- 
vent our coming into contact with it, or seeing anything at all — 
they will take away the gentleman rider while we are at breakfast 
or tea — and that I find immoral. The Stohr woman was furious, 
simply because I mentioned his death. That’s too absurd for words. 
She is ignorant, to be sure, and thinks that ‘ Leise , leise , fromme 
W else 5 comes out of Tannhauser , she said so the other day. But 
even so, she might have a little human feeling, and the rest of them 
too. Well, I have made up my mind to concern myself a bit in 
future with the severe cases and the moribund. It will do me good 
— I feel our visit just now has done me good already. That poor 
chap Reuter in number twenty-five, whom I saw through the door 
when I first came, he has most likely long ago been gathered to 
his fathers, and been spirited away on the quiet. His eyes were so 
enormous even then. But there are more of them, the house is full, 
and they keep coming. Sister Alfreda or the Directress, or even 
Behrens himself, would most likely be glad to put us in the way 
of it. Say that one of the moribund was having a birthday, and we 
hear of it — that could easily be brought about. Good. We send 
him, or her, whichever it is, a pot of flowers, an attention from 



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296 

two fellow-guests, who prefer to remain anonymous, with best 
wishes for recovery; it is always polite to say that. Then after- 
wards, of course, it is found out who sent it, and he — or she — in 
her infirmity, lets us greet her, in a friendly way, through the door- 
way; she may even ask us in for a minute, and we have a little hu- 
man intercourse with him, before he sinks away. That’s how I 
imagine it. Are you agreed? For my part, my mind is made up.” 

Joachim had not much to bring up against the plan. “ It is against 
the rules of the house,” he said. “ In a certain way you would be 
transgressing them. But Behrens w T ould probably be willing to 
make an exception, and give permission, if you wanted it, I should 
think. You might refer to your interest in the medical side.” 

“Yes, among other things,” Hans Castorp answered: for in 
truth somewhat involved motives lay at the bottom of his desire. 
His protest against the prevailing egotism was only one of these: 
there was also and in particular a spiritual craving to take suffer- 
ing and death seriously, and pay them the respect that was their 
due. Contact with the suffering and dying would, or so he hoped, 
feed and strengthen this craving of the spirit, by counteracting 
the manifold woundings to which it was daily and hourly sub- 
jected, and which he felt the more keenly on account of the Set- 
tembrinian critique. Instances there were only too many: if one had 
asked Hans Castorp for them, he would probably have mentioned 
certain persons who were admittedly not much ailing, and not 
under the smallest compulsion, but who made a pretext of slight 
illness to live up here, for their own pleasure, and because the life 
suited them. Such was the Widow Hessenfeld, whom we have 
mentioned in passing. Her passion was betting; she staked against 
the gentlemen every conceivable object upon every conceivable 
subject: the weather, the dishes at dinner, the result of the monthly 
examination, the prescribed length of stay of this or that person, 
the champions in the skating, sleighing, bob-racing, and skiing 
competitions, the duration of this or that amour among the guests 
of the cure, and a hundred other, often quite indifferent or trifling 
subjects. Staked chocolate, champagne, and caviar, which were 
then ceremonially partaken of in the restaurant; or money, or 
cinematograph tickets, or even kisses, given and received — in brief, 
she brought with her passion for betting much life and excitement 
into the dining-room; though her proceedings were not such as 
could be taken seriously by Hans Castorp, who even felt that her 
mere presence was prejudicial to the dignity of a serious cure. 

For he was inwardly concerned to protect that dignity and up- 
hold it in his own eyes — though now, after nearly half a year 



THE DANCE OF DEATH 


2 97 

among those up here, it cost him something to do so. The insight 
he gradually won into their lives and activities, their practices and 
points of view, was not encouraging. We have mentioned the two 
slim young elegants, seventeen and eighteen years old, nicknamed 
Max and Moritz, whose exploits were the talk of the cure, and who 
were in the habit of climbing out of the window at night in order 
to play poker and dissipate down below in female society. Only 
lately — that is to say, perhaps a week after the New Year, for we 
must bear in mind that while we tell the story, time streams silently 
and ceaselessly on — it had been spread abroad at breakfast that the 
bathing-master had just caught the pair, in crumpled evening 
clothes, lying on their beds. Even Hans Castorp laughed; but this, 
however humiliating it was to his better feelings, was nothing 
compared to the tales that circulated about a certain lawyer from 
Jiiterbog, Einhuf by name; a man perhaps forty years old, with a 
pointed beard and very hairy hands, who had taken the Swede’s 
place at Herr Settembrini’s table. It was reported of him not only 
that he came home drunk every night, but that recently he had 
failed to do even that, having been discovered lying in the meadow. 
He passed for a Don Juan: Frau Stohr could point out the damsel 
— of whom it was also known that she had an affianced lover down 
in the flat-land — who was seen at a certain hour coming out of 
Lawyer Einhuf s room, clad in a fur coat with combinations under- 
neath, and nothing more. That was a scandal; not only to the gen- 
eral, but even more to Hans Castorp’s private sense, and deroga- 
tory to his spiritual endeavours. It even came to this: that the 
thought of Lawyer Einhuf could not enter his mind without call- 
ing up there, by an association of ideas, the thought of Franzchen 
Oberdank, the little creature with the sleek blond head, whose 
mamma, a worthy dame from the provinces, had brought her up 
to the Berghof a few weeks before. Franzchen’s case, on her ar- 
rival, and even after the examination, had been thought a light 
one. But perhaps she had failed in the service of the cure, perhaps 
hers was one of those cases in which the air proved in the first in- 
stance to be good not against but for the disease. Or perhaps the 
child may have become involved in some intrigue, the excitement of 
which was seriously bad for her. Four weeks after her arrival she 
entered the dining-room fresh from a second examination, tossing 
her little hand-bag in the air, and crying out in her fresh young 
voice: “ Hurrah, hurrah! I shall have to stop a year! ” — at which 
the whole room resounded with Homeric laughter. But two weeks 
later the whisper went round that Lawyer Einhuf had behaved 
like a blackguard to Franzchen Oberdank. The expression is ours, 


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298 

or, rather, Hans Castorp’s; for those who spread the news found it 
too old a story to be moved to the use of strong language. They 
shrugged their shoulders and gave it out as their view that it took 
two to play at such games, and that it was unlikely anything had 
happened against the will of either participant. This, at least, was 
Frau Stohr’s demeanour, her ethical reaction to the affair in ques- 
tion. 

Caroline Stohr was dreadful. If anything had power to distract 
our young Hans Castorp, in the course of his sincerely felt spiritual 
strivings, it was the personality, the very existence of this woman. 
Her perpetual malapropisms were quite enough. She said insolvent 
when she meant insolent, and uttered the most amazing rubbish 
by way of explaining the astronomical phenomena involved in an 
eclipse of the sun. One day she almost reduced Herr Settembrini 
to permanent stupefaction by telling him that she was reading a 
book from the library which would interest him; namely, “ Schil- 
ler’s translation of Benedetto Cenelli.” She adored expressions of a 
cheap and common stamp, worn threadbare by over-use, which 
got on Hans Castorp’s nerves — as, for example, “ you haven’t the 
faintest idea! ” or “ how utterly too-too! ” It had for long been 
the fashionable jargon to say “ simply gorgeous ” to express the idea 
of brilliant, or excellent; this phrase now proved to have outlived 
its usefulness. It was entirely prostituted, the juice quite sucked out 
of it; and Frau Stohr clutched eagerly at the newest currency: 
everything, whether in jest or earnest, was “ devastating,” the bob- 
run, the sweet for dinner, her own temperature — and this sounded 
equally offensive in her mouth. She had a boundless appetite for 
gossip. One day she might relate that Frau Salomon was wearing 
the most costly lace underwear in preparation for her examination, 
and prided herself very much upon her appearance before the 
physicians on these occasions. There was probably more truth 
than poetry in the statement. Hans Castorp himself had the impres- 
sion that the examinations, quite aside from their result, had their 
pleasurable side for the ladies, and that they adorned themselves 
accordingly. But what should one say to Frau Stohr’s assertion 
that Frau Redisch, from Posen, who, it was feared, suffered from 
tuberculosis of the spine, had to walk up and down entirely naked 
before Hofrat Behrens, for ten minutes once a week? This state- 
ment was almost as improbable as it was objectionable; but Frau 
Stohr swore to it by all that was holy — though it was hard to 
understand how the poor creature could expend so much zeal and 
energy, and be so dogmatic, upon matters like these, when her own 
personal condition gave so much cause for concern. She was some- 



THE DANCE OF DEATH 


299 

times seized by attacks of panic and whimpering, caused by the 
lassitude which seemed to be constantly on the increase, or by her 
rising curve; when she would come sobbing to table, the chapped 
red cheeks streaming with tears, and wail into her handkerchief: 
Behrens wanted to send her to bed, she would like to know what 
he had said behind her back was the matter with her, she wanted 
to look the truth in the face. One day she had remarked to her 
horror that her bed had been placed with the foot in the direction 
of the entrance door; the discovery nearly sent her into spasms. 
It was not easy to understand her rage and terror; Hans Castorp 
did not see at once what she meant, and inquired: “ Well 5 And 
what then? What was there about the bed standing like that? ” 

For God’s sake, couldn’t he understand 5 Feet first! She had made 
desperate outcry, and the position of the bed had to be altered at 
once, though it caused her to lie with her face to the light, and thus 
disturbed her sleep. 

But none of this was really serious; it could not meet Hans Ca- 
storp’s spiritual needs. A frightful occurrence, which happened at 
about this time, during a meal, made a profound impression upon 
him. Among the newer patients was a schoolmaster named Popoff , 
a lean and silent man, with his equally lean and silent wife. They sat 
together at the “ good ” Russian table; and one day, while the meal 
was in full swing, the man was seized with a violent epileptic fit, 
and with that oft-described demoniac unearthly shriek fell to the 
floor, where he lay beside his chair, striking about him with dread- 
fully distorted arms and legs. To make matters worse, it was a fish 
dish that had just been handed, and there was ground for fear that 
Popoff, in his spasm, might choke on a bone. The uproar was in- 
describable. The ladies, Frau Stohr in the lead, with Mesdames 
Salomon, Redisch, Hessenfeld, Magnus, litis, Levi, and the rest 
following hard upon, were taken in a variety of ways, some of them 
almost as badly as Popoff. Their yells resounded. Everywhere were 
twitching eyelids, gaping mouths, writhing torsos. One of them 
elected to faint, silently. There were cases of choking, some of 
them having been in the act of chewing and swallowing when the 
excitement began. Many of the guests at the various tables fled, 
through any available exit, even actually seeking the open, though 
the weather was very cold and damp. The whole occurrence, how- 
ever, took a peculiar cast, offensive even beyond the horror of it, 
through an association of ideas due to Dr. Krokowski’s latest lec- 
ture. In the course of his exposition of love as a power making for 
disease, the psycho-analyst had touched upon the “ falling sick' 
ness.” This affliction, which, in pre-analytic times, he said, men 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


300 

had by turns interpreted as a holy, even a prophetic visitation, and 
as a devilish possession, he went on to treat of, half poetically, half 
in ruthlessly scientific terminology, as the equivalent of love and an 
orgasm of the brain. In brief, he had cast such an equivocal light 
upon the disease that his hearers were bound to see, in Popoff s 
seizure, an illustration of the lecture, an awful manifestation and 
mysterious scandal. The flight on the part of the ladies was, ac- 
cordingly, a disguised expression of modesty. The Hofrat himself 
had been present at the meal; he, with Fraulein von Mylendonk and 
one or two more robust guests, carried the ecstatic from the room, 
blue, rigid, twisted, and foaming at the mouth as he was; they put 
him down in the hall, where the doctors, the Directress, and other 
people could be seen hovering over the unconscious man, whom 
they afterwards bore away on a stretcher. But a short time there- 
after Herr Popoff, quite happy and serene, with his equally serene 
and happy wife, was to be seen sitting at the “ good ” Russian table, 
finishing his meal as though nothing had happened. 

Hans Castorp was present at this episode, and evinced all the 
outward signs of concern and alarm, but at bottom he was not 
edified, God help him! True, Popoff might have choked on his 
mouthful of fish; but he had not. Perhaps, in all his unconscious 
mouthings and goings-on, he had all the while somehow taken 
jolly good care not to. Now he was sitting there, eating blithely 
away, as though he had never been behaving like a drunken 
berserk — very probably he remembered nothing at all about it. 
But in his person he was not a man to strengthen Hans Castorp’s 
respect for suffering; his wife, too, after her fashion, only added 
to those impressions of frivolous irregularity against which Hans 
Castorp wrestled and which he sought to counteract by coming 
into closer touch, despite the prevailing attitude, with the suffering 
and dying in the establishment. 

In the same storey with the cousins, not far from their rooms, 
lay a young girl named Leila Gerngross. According to Sister 
Berta, she was about to die. Inside ten days she had had four 
violent haemorrhages, and her parents had come, in the hope to 
take her home while she still lived. Bi^t it was impossible; the 
Hofrat said poor little Gerngross could not stand the journey. 
She was sixteen or seventeen years old. Hans Castorp saw here 
the opportunity to carry out his plan with the pot of flowers 
and the good wishes for speedy recovery. There was, it is true, 
no birthday feast to celebrate, in all human probability little 
Leila would never see another — it came in the spring, Hans 
Castorp learned. But he felt the fact need not prevent his offer- 



THE DANCE OF DEATH 3OI 

ing his respectful sympathy. When he went down with his 
cousin for their morning walk, he entered a flower-shop near 
the Kurhaus; and breathing in agreeably the moist, earthy, scent- 
laden air, he chose with care from the array a charming hortensia, 
and ordered it conveyed to the little sufferer’s room, with a 
card, upon which he wrote no names, but simply “ From two 
house-mates, with best wishes for recovery.” All this was an ex- 
quisite activity to Hans Castorp; he enjoyed the fragrant breath 
of the plants; the soft warmth of the shop, after the cold outside, 
made his eyes fill with tears. His heart beat with a feeling of 
adventure and audacity, a conviction of the good sense of his 
modest enterprise, to which, privately, he ascribed a certain sym- 
bolic value. 

Leila Gerngross had no private nursing, she was under the im- 
mediate supervision of Fraulein von Mylendonk and the physi- 
cians. Sister Berta too went in and out of her room, and it was 
she who gave the young people news of the result of their at- 
tention. The little one, in her hopeless and circumscribed state, 
was as pleased as a child with the strangers’ greeting. The pot 
stood at her bedside, she caressed it with eyes and hands, saw 
that it was kept watered, and even in her severest fits of cough- 
ing rested her tortured gaze upon it. Likewise the parents, re- 
tired Major Gerngross and wife, were touched and pleased; 
and since it was impossible for them, as complete strangers, to 
guess the givers, Fraulein Schildknecht could not — she confessed 
it — refrain from revealing the cousins’ identity. She transmitted 
the desire of the whole family that they should come and receive 
the thanks due their gift; and thus, on the next day but one, the 
deaconess ushered the two on tiptoe into Leila’s apartment. 

The dying girl was indeed a charming blond creature, with 
eyes of true forget-me-not blue. Despite great loss of blood, 
and the effort to breathe with an utterly insufficient remnant of 
sound lung-tissue, she looked fragile indeed, yet not too dis- 
tressing. She thanked them, and talked a little, in a pleasant, though 
toneless voice, while a faint rosy glow overspread her cheeks and 
lingered there. Hans Castorp suitably explained and excused his 
seeming intrusion, speaking in a low, moved voice, with delicate 
reverence. He did not lack much — the impulse was present in 
him — of falling upon his knees by the bedside; and he clasped 
the patient’s hot little hand long and closely in his, despite its 
being not moist but actually wet, for the child’s sweat secretion 
was so great, she perspired so much, that the flesh must have been 
shrivelled, if the transudation had not been counteracted by 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


302 

copious draughts of lemonade, a carafe of which stood on the bed- 
side table. The parents, afflicted as they were, sustained the brief 
colloquy with courteous inquiries as to the state of the cousins' 
health, and other conversational devices. The Major was a broad- 
shouldered man, with a low forehead and bristling moustaches, 
a tower of strength; his organic innocence of his little daughter’s 
phthisical tendency was plain to any eye. It was rather the mother 
who was responsible for the inherited taint; she was small, and of 
a distinctly consumptive type, and her conscience seemed bur- 
dened with the knowledge of her fatal bequest. Leila, after ten 
minutes’ talk, gave signs of fatigue, or rather of over-excitement; 
the flush deepened in her cheek, and her forget-me-not eyes 
glittering disquietingly. The cousins, on a sign from the nurse, 
made their adieux; and then the poor mother followed them into 
the corridor, and broke out into self-reproachings, which affected 
Hans Castorp very painfully. From her, from her alone it came, 
she said remorsefully, again and again. Her husband had nothing 
whatever to do with it. Even she, she assured them, had been only 
temporarily affected, only a slight and superficial case, when she 
was quite a young girl. She had outgrown it entirely, had been sure 
that she was quite cured. For she had wished to marry, she had 
so longed to marry and live, and she had done it: healed and 
sound she had wedded her dear husband, himself as sound as a 
berry, who on his side had no notion at all of such things. But 
sound and strong as he was, that had not helped: the dreadful, 
hidden, and forgotten thing had come to light in the child, it 
would end by destroying her; she, the mother, had escaped and 
was entering into a healthy old age, but the poor, lovely darling 
would die, the physicians gave them no hope — and she, she alone 
was to blame, with her buried past. 

The young people sought to console her, to say something about 
the possibility of a turn for the better. But the Major’s wife only 
sobbed and thanked them for all they had done, for the gift of 
the plant, and the diversion and pleasure their visit had brought 
her child. She lay there, poor little one, lonely and suffering upon 
her bed, while other young creatures were glad of life, and could 
dance with fine young men to their heart’s desire — and even the 
disease could not kill the desire to dance. They had brought her a 
ray of sunshine-— my God, it would be the last. The hortensia 
had been like homage at a ball, the brief chat with the two fine 
young cavaliers a tiny affaire de coeur; she, the mother, had 
seen it. 

All this impressed Hans Castorp rather painfully — and she had 


THE DANCE OF DEATH 


3<>3 

pronounced the French badly too, which irritated him beyond 
words. He was no fine cavalier, he had visited little Leila only 
as a protest against the ruling spirit of egotism in the place, and 
in a physicianly and priestly capacity. He was rather put out 
over the turn the affair had taken, and the interpretation the 
mother had put upon it. But on the other hand, he felt a lively 
pleasure at having actually carried out his undertaking. Two 
impressions in particular lingered from the enterprise: one, the 
earthy odours of the flower-shop; the other, Leila's wet little 
hand — they had sunk into his mind and soul. And as thus a 
beginning had been made, he arranged on the same day with 
Alfreda Schildknecht a visit to her patient, Fritz Rotbein, who 
was as bored with life as his nurse, though to him, unless all signs 
failed, only a short term still remained. 

Nothing for it but that the good Joachim must go along. Hans 
Castorp’s charitable impulse was stronger than his cousin’s dis- 
taste; which the latter, moreover, could only manifest by silence 
and averted eyes, since he could not stand for it except by be- 
traying a lack of Christian feeling. Hans Castorp saw that very 
well, and drew advantage from it. Equally he perceived the mili- 
tary grounds for the distaste; but if he himself felt the happier 
and stronger for such undertakings, if they seemed to him con- 
ducive to good ends? In that case, he must simply override 
Joachim’s silent disapproval. He deliberated with his cousin 
whether they might send or bring flowers to Fritz Rotbein, he 
being a man. He desired to do so. Flowers, he felt, were proper 
to the occasion, and the purchase of the pretty, well-shaped purple 
hortensia had greatly pleased him. He came to the conclusion 
that Fritz Rotbein’s sex was, so to speak, neutralized by his mortal 
state; also that there was no need of a birthday to serve as excuse, 
since the dying are to be treated as though in enjoyment of a 
permanent birthday. Thus minded, he sought once more with 
his cousin the warm, earthy, scent-laden air of the flower-shop, 
and brought back a dewy fragrant bunch of roses, wallflowers, and 
carnations, with which they entered Herr Rotbein’s room, ushered 
by Alfreda Schildknecht. 

The sufferer was not more than twenty years old, if so much, 
but rather bald and grey. He looked waxen and wasted, with 
large hands, nose, and ears; showed himself glad unto tears for 
the kindness of the visit, and the diversion it afforded him, and 
indeed, out of weakness, did weep a little as he greeted the two 
and received the bouquet. His first words, uttered almost in a 
whisper, were with reference to the flowers, and he went on to 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


304 

talk about the European flower trade, and its ever-increasing 
proportions — about the enormous exportation from the nurseries 
of Nice and Cannes, the shipments by train-load and post that 
went off daily from these places all over Europe; about the whole- 
sale markets of Paris and Berlin, and the supplies for Russia. For he 
was a business man; his point of view was the commercial one, 
and would be so long as life remained to him. His father, a doll- 
manufacturer in Coburg, had sent him to England to be educated, 
he told them in a whisper, and there he had fallen ill. They had 
taken his fever for typhoid, and treated it accordingly, with 
liquid diet, which had much reduced him. Up here they had let 
him eat, and eat he had; in the sweat of his brow .he had sat in 
his bed and tried to build himself up. But it was all too late, the 
intestinal tract was already involved. In vain they sent him tongue 
and spiced eel from home — he could not digest it. His father, 
whom Behrens summoned by telegraph, was now on the way 
from Coburg; for decisive action was to be taken, they would 
try at least what they could do with rib resection, though the 
chances of success diminished daily. Rotbein conveyed all this 
in a whisper, and with great objectivity. Even in the matter of 
the operation he took a business view, for, so long as he lived, 
that would be his angle of approach. The expense, he whispered, 
was fixed at a thousand francs, including the anaesthesia of the 
spinal cord; practically the whole thoracic cavity was involved, 
six or eight ribs, and the question was whether it would pay. 
Behrens would like to persuade him; but the doctor’s interest in 
the matter was single, whereas his own seemed equivocal; he was 
not at all clear that he would not do better just to die in peace, 
with his ribs intact. 

It was hard to advise him. The cousins thought the Hofrat’s 
brilliant reputation as a surgeon should be considered. It was 
agreed at length to leave the decision to the elder Rotbein, soon 
to arrive. Young Fritz wept again a little as they took their 
leave; his tears fell in strange contrast to the dry matter-of- 
factness of his thought and speech. He begged the gentlemen to 
repeat their visit, and they willingly promised to do so, but it 
did not come about. The doll-manufacturer arrived in the eve- 
ning, next morning they proceeded to operate, and after that 
young Fritz was in no condition to receive callers. Two days 
later, passing the room with Joachim, Hans Castorp saw that it 
was being turned out. Sister Alfreda had already packed her 
little trunk and left the Berghof, to go to another moribundus 
in another establishment. Heaving a sigh, her eye-glass ribbon 



THE DANCE OF DEATH 305 

behind her ear, she had betaken herself thither, since such and 
only such was the prospect life held out to her. 

An empty room, a room that had been “ vacated ” — with its 
furniture turned topsyturvy, and both doors standing wide, as 
one saw it in passing, on the way to the dining-room or one’s 
daily walks — was a most significant, and yet withal such an 
accustomed sight that one thought little of it, especially when 
one had, in one’s time, taken possession of just such a “ vacated ” 
room, and settled down to feel at home in it. Sometimes you knew 
whose room it had been, and that indeed gave you to think. Thus 
a week later Hans Castorp passed by and saw Leila Gemgross’s 
room in just *hat condition; and in this instance his understand- 
ing rebelled for the moment against what he saw. He stood and 
looked, perplexed and startled, and the Hofrat came that way, 
to whom he spoke. 

“ I see it is being turned out here. Good-morning, Herr Hofrat. 
Then little Leila — ” 

“ Ay,” answered Behrens, and shrugged his shoulders. After 
a pause for the meaning of the gesture to take effect, he added: 
“ So you paid court to her in form, just before the doors were 
shut? Decent of you, to take an interest in my lungers, consider- 
ing you are relatively sound yourself. Shows a pretty trait of 
character — no, no, don’t be shy, quite a pretty trait. Shall I 
introduce you a bit here and there, what? I have all sorts of 
jail-birds in their little cells, if you want to see them. Just now, 
for instance, I am on my way to visit my ‘ Overfilled.’ Want to 
come? I’ll introduce you as a sympathetic fellow sufferer.” 

Hans Castorp replied that the Hofrat had taken the words out 
of his mouth, and offered him what he was on the point of asking. 
He would gratefully accept the permission to accompany him; 
but who was the ‘ Overfilled ’ and how did Hofrat Behrens mean 
him to understand the title? 

“ Quite literally,” said the Hofrat. “ Quite exactly, no meta- 
phors. She’ll tell you about herself.” A few paces brought them 
before the room, and the Hofrat entered, bidding his companion 
wait. 

As the double doors opened, the visitor heard the sound of 
clear and hearty laughter, which yet sounded short-winded, as 
though the person within were gasping for breath. Then it was 
shut away; but he heard it again when, a few minutes later, he 
was bidden to enter, and Behrens presented him to the blonde 
lady lying there in bed and looking at him with curiosity out of 
her blue eyes. She lay half sitting, supported by pillows, and 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


306 

seemed very restless; she laughed incessantly, struggling the while 
for breath: a high, purling, silver laughter, as though her plight 
excited or amused her. She was amused too, very likely, by the 
Hofrat’s turns of phrase in introducing the visitor, and called out 
repeated thanks and good-byes as he went off; waved her hand 
at his departing back; sighed melodiously, with runs of silver 
merriment, and pressed her hand against her heaving breast under 
the batiste night-gown. Her legs, it seemed, were never still. 

The lady’s name was Frau Zimmermann. Hans Castorp knew 
her by sight; she had sat for some weeks at the table with Frau 
Salomon and the lad who bolted his food; then she had dis- 
appeared, and so far as Hans Castorp may have troubled about 
it, he supposed that she had gone home. Now he found her again, 
under the name of the “ Overfilled,” and awaited an explanation. 

“ Ha ha, ha ha! ” she carolled, in high glee, holding her flutter- 
ing bosom. “ Frightfully funny man, is Behrens; killingly funny, 
makes you die of laughing. But sit down, Herr Kasten, or Carsten, 
or whatever your name is; you have such a funny name — ha ha, 
ha ha! You must please excuse me; do sit down on that chair near 
my feet, but please don’t mind if I thrash about with my legs, 
I cannot help it.” 

She was almost pretty, with clear-cut, rather too well-defined 
though agreeable features, and a tiny double chin. Her lips and 
even the tip of her nose were blue, probably from lack of air. 
Her hands had an appealing thinness; the laces of the night- 
dress set them off; but she could keep them quiet no more than 
her feet. Her throat was like a girl’s, with “ salt-cellars ” above the 
delicate collar-bones; and her breast, heaving and struggling under 
the night-gown with her laughter and gasping breaths, looked 
tender and young. Hans Castorp decided to send or bring her 
flowers, a bouquet from the nurseries of Nice and Cannes, dewy 
and fragrant. With some misgiving he joined in her breathless 
and volatile mirth. 

“ And so you go round visiting the fever cases? ” she asked. 
“ That’s very amusing and friendly of you! But I’m not a fever 
case; that is, I wasn’t in the least, until just now — until this 
business — listen, and tell me if it isn’t just the funniest thing you 
ever heard in all your life! ” And wrestling for air, amid trills and 
roulades of laughter, she related her story. 

She had come up a little ill — well, ill, of course, for other- 
wise she would not have come; perhaps not quite a slight case, 
but rather slight than grave. The pneumothorax, that newest 
triumph of modem surgical technique, so rapidly become popular. 


THE DANCE OF DEATH 


307 

had been brilliantly successful in her case. She made most grati- 
fying progress, her condition was entirely satisfactory. Her hus- 
band — for she was married, though childless — might hope to 
have her home again in three or four months. Then, to divert 
herself, she made a trip to Zurich — there had been no other reason 
for her going, save simply to amuse herself — she had amused 
herself to her heart’s content, but found herself overtaken by 
the need to be “ filled up ” again and entrusted the business to a 
physician where she was. A nice, amusing young man — but what 
was the result? Here she was overtaken by a perfect paroxysm 
of laughter. He had filled her too full! There were no other 
words to describe it, that said it all. He had meant too well by 
her, he had probably not too well understood the technique; the 
long and short of it was, in that condition, not able to breathe, 
suffering from cardiac depression, she had come back — ah, ha, 
ha, ha! and Behrens, cursing and storming with a vengeance, had 
stuck her into bed. For now she was ill indeed, not actually in 
high fever, but finished, done, made a mess of — oh, what a face 
he was making, how funny he looked, ha, ha, ha! She pointed at 
Hans Castorp and laughed so hard that even her brow grew blue. 
The funniest thing of all, she said, was the way Behrens raved and 
reviled — it had made her laugh, at first, when she discovered that 
she was overfilled. 

“ You are in absolute danger of your life,” he had bellowed at 
her, just like that, without making any bones of it. “ What a 
bear — ah, ha, ha, ha! — you really must please forgive me.” 

It remained unclear what aspect of Behrens’s outburst had 
made her laugh; whether his brusqueness, and because she did 
not believe what he said, or whether she did believe it — as in- 
deed she must, it would seem — and quite simply found the fact 
of her imminent danger “ too funny for words.” Hans Castorp got 
the impression that it was the latter; and that she was pealing, 
trilling, and cascading with laughter only out of childish irre- 
sponsibility and the incomprehension of her birdlike brain. He 
disapproved. He sent her some flowers, but never again beheld 
the laughter-loving lady — who, indeed, after she had sustained 
life upon oxygen for some days, expired in the arms of her hur- 
riedly summoned husband. “ As big a goose as they make them,” 
the Hof rat called her, in telling Hans Castorp of her death. 

But the young man had by then made further connexions 
among the serious cases, thanks to the Hofrat and the house 
nurses; and Joachim had to accompany him on the visits he 
made; for instance to the son of Tous-les-deux — the second. 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


308 

for the room of the first had long since been swept and garnished 
and fumigated with H 2 CO. They paid visits as well to Teddy, a 
boy who had lately been sent up from the “ Fridericianum ” — as 
the school below was called — because his case proved too severe 
for the life there; to Anton Karlowitsch Ferge, the Russo-German 
insurance agent, a good-natured martyr; and to that unhappy, and 
yet so coquettish creature, Frau von Mallinckrodt. She, like all 
the foregoing, received flowers, and was even fed more than Once 
from the hands of Hans Castorp, in the presence of Joachim. 
They gradually acquired the name of good Samaritans and 
Brothers of Charity; Settembrini thus referred to their activities 
one day to Hans Castorp. 

“ Sapper lot, Engineer! What is this I am hearing of your activi- 
ties? So you have thrown yourself into a career of benevolence? 
You are seeking justification through good works? ” 

“ Nothing worth mentioning, Herr Settembrini. Nothing to 
make a fuss about. My cousin and I — ” 

“ Don’t talk to me about your cousin. When the two of you 
make yourselves talked about, it is you we are dealing with. 
Your cousin’s is a good and simple nature, most worthy of re- 
spect; exposed to no intellectual perils, the sort that gives a school- 
master not one anxious moment. You’ll not make me believe he 
is the moving spirit. No, yours is the more gifted, if also the more 
exposed nature. You are, if I may so express myself, life’s deli- 
cate child, one has to trouble about you. And moreover you have 
given me permission to trouble about you.” 

“ Certainly, Herr Settembrini — once and for all. Very kind 
of you. 4 Life’s delicate child,’ why, that’s very pretty — only an 
author would think of it. I don’t know if I’ve to flatter myself 
over the title, but I like the sound of it at least, I must say that. 
Yes, I do occupy myself rather with the ‘ children of death,’ if 
that is what you refer to. I look in here and there among the 
serious cases and the dying when I have time, the service of the 
cure doesn’t suffer from it. I visit the ones who aren’t here for the 
fun of the thing, leading a disorderly life — the ones who are busy 
dying.” 

“ And yet it is written: 4 Let the dead bury their dead,’ ” said 
the Italian. 

Hans Castorp raised his arms, to signify that there was so much 
written, on both sides, it was hard to know the rights of it. Of 
course, the organ-grinder had voiced a disturbing point of view, 
that was to be expected. Hans Castorp was ready, now as ever, 
of his own free will to lend an ear to Settembrini’s teachings, and 



THE DANCE OF DEATH 


309 

by way of experiment to be influenced by them. But he was far 
from being prepared to give up, for the sake of a pedagogic point 
of view, enterprises which he vaguely, despite Mother Gerngross 
and her phrases, despite the uninspiring young Rotbein and the 
cachinnations of the “ Overfilled,” found somehow helpful and 
significant. 

Tous-les-deux’s son was named Lauro. He too received flowers, 
earthy, heavenly-smelling violets from Nice, “ from two sympa- 
thetic housemates, with best wishes for recovery and as this 
anonymity had by now become purely formal, since everyone 
knew the source whence such attentions came, Tous-les-deux 
herself thanked the cousins when they chanced to meet in the cor- 
ridor. The pale, dark Mexican mother begged them, with a few 
incoherent words, and chiefly by means of a pathetic gesture of 
invitation, to come and receive in person the thanks of her son — 
son seul et dernier fils , qui allait mowrir aussi. They went at once. 
Lauro proved to be an astonishingly handsome young man, with 
great glowing eyes, a nose like an eagle’s beak, quivering nostrils, 
and beautiful lips, with a small black moustache sprouting above 
them. But his bearing was so theatrical and swaggering that Hans 
Castorp, this time no less than Joachim Ziemssen, was glad when 
they closed the invalid’s door behind them. Tous-les-deux had 
ranged forlornly up and down the room, with her long, bent- 
kneed stride, in her black cashmere shawl, with the black scarf 
knotted beneath her chin, her forehead crossed with wrinkles, 
great pouches of skin under the jet-black eyes, and one corner 
of her large mouth pathetically drooping. Sometimes she ap- 
proached them as they sat by the bed, to reiterate her parrotlike 
speech: “ Tons les de , vous comprenez , me ssies — premier ement 
Pun et maintenant VautreT And the handsome Lauro delivered 
himself of rolling, ranting, intolerably bombastic phrases, also in 
French, to the effect that he knew how a hero should die and 
meant to do it: comme her os, a Pespagnol, like his young brother, 
de meme quo son fier jeune frere Fernando, who likewise had died 
like a Spanish hero. He gesticulated, he tore open his shirt to offer 
his yellow breast to the stroke of fate; and continued thus, until 
an attack of coughing, which forced a thread of red foam to his 
hps, quenched his harangue and gave the cousins an excuse to go 
out, on tiptoe. 

They did not mention the visit to Lauro ’s bedside; even to 
themselves they refrained from comment on his behaviour. But 
both were better pleased with their call upon Anton Karlowitsch 
Ferge from St. Petersburg, who lay in bed, with his great good- 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


310 

natured beard and his just as good-natured-looking great Adam’s 
apple, recovering slowly from the unsuccessful attempt which 
had been made to install the pneumothorax in his interior economy, 
and which had been within a hair’s breadth of costing Herr Ferge 
his life on the spot. He had suffered a frightful shock, the pleura- 
shock — a quite frequent occurrence in cases where this fashion- 
able technique was applied. But Herr Ferge’s shock had been 
exceptionally dangerous, a total collapse and critical loss of con- 
sciousness, in a word so severe an attack that the operation had 
been broken off at once, and was indefinitely postponed. 

Herr Ferge’s good-natured grey eyes grew large and round, 
his face went ashen-coloured, when he came to speak of the 
operation, which must have been horrible indeed. “ No anaes- 
thesia, my dear sir. In this case it doesn’t do, a sensible man 
understands that and accepts the situation as it is. But the local 
doesn’t reach very far down, it only benumbs the surface flesh, 
you feel it when they lay you open, like a pinching and squeez- 
ing. I lie there with my face covered, so I can’t see anything: the 
assistant holds me on one side and the Directress on the other. 
I feel myself being pinched and squeezed, that is the flesh they 
are laying back and pegging down. Then I hear the Hof rat say: 

4 Very good and then he begins, with a blunt instrument — it 
must be blunt, not to pierce through too soon — to go over the 
pleura and find the place where he can make an incision and let 
the gas in; and when he begins moving about over my pleura with 
his instrument — oh, Lord, oh, Lord! I felt like — I felt it was all 
up w T ith me — it was something perfectly indescribable. The pleura, 
my friends, is not anything that should be felt of; it does not want 
to be felt of and it ought not to be. It is taboo. It is covered up with 
flesh and pur away once and for all; nobody and nothing ought 
to come near it. And now he uncovers it and feels all over it. 
My God, I was sick at my stomach. Horrible, awful; never in 
my life have I imagined there could be such a sickening feeling, 
outside hell and its torments. I fainted; I had three fainting-fits 
one after the other, a green, a brown, and a violet. And there was 
a stink — the shock went to my sense of smell and I got an awful 
stench of hydrogen sulphide, the way it must smell in the bad 
place; with all that I heard myself laughing as I went off — not 
the way a human being laughs — it was the most indecent, ghastly 
kind of laughing I ever heard. Because, when they go over your 
pleura like that, I tell you what it is: it is as though you were 
being tickled — horribly, disgustingly tickled — that is just what 



THE DANCE OF DEATH 3II 

the infernal torment of the pleura-shock is like, and may God 
keep you from it! ” 

Often, and never without blanching and shuddering, did Anton 
Karlowitsch Ferge come back to this infernal experience of his, 
and torture himself with it in retrospect. He had from the first 
professed himself a simple man; the “ higher things ” of this life, 
he said, were utterly beyond him, he expressly stipulated that 
no intellectual or emotional demands be made upon him; he, for 
his part, made none upon anybody else. This bargain once struck, 
he turned out to talk not unentertainingly of his experiences in the 
life from which his illness had withdrawn him. He had been in 
the employ of a fire-insurance company, and made constant ex- 
tended journeys from St. Petersburg up and down the vTole 
of Russia, visiting insured factory buildings and spying out those 
which were financially suspect; for it was a fact supported by 
statistics that the larger percentage of fires occurred in just those 
factories where business was not going too well. Thus he was 
sent out to study a plant, under this or that pretext, and render 
an account to his company, so that serious loss could be provided 
against betimes, by increased counter-insurance or dividing the 
risk. He told of winter journeys through the length and breadth 
of Russia, of night travel in extreme cold, in sledges that you lay 
down in, under sheepskin covers, and when you roused you 
could see the eyes of wolves gleaming like stars across the snow. 
He carried his provisions frozen, cabbage soup and white bread, 
in boxes; when they stopped to change horses, at a station, these 
could be thawed out, as required, and the bread would be as fresh 
as on the day it was baked. But when there came a sudden mild 
spell, he would find that the soup he had brought with him in 
chunks had melted and run away. 

Thus Herr Ferge; now and then interrupting his narrative with 
a sigh, and the remark that it was all very well — if only they 
did not try the pneumothorax again. His talk was devoid of the 
“ higher things,” but it was full of facts, and interesting to listen 
to, particularly for Hans Castorp, who found it profited him to 
hear about Russia and life as it was lived there: about samovars 
and pirogues, Cossacks, and wooden churches with so many towers 
shaped like onion-tops as to look like a whole colony of mush- 
rooms. He led Herr Ferge to talk about the people, the strange 
and exotic northern types, with their Asiatic tincture, the promi- 
nent cheek-bones and Finnish-Mongolian slant to the eye; listening 
with anthropological interest to all that he heard. At his request? 


K 



THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


3 12 

Herr Ferge spoke Russian to him; the outlandish, spineless, washed- 
out idiom came pouring from under the good-natured moustaches, 
out of the good-natured Adam’s apple; and Hans Castorp enjoyed 
it the more, youthlike, because all this was, pedagogically con- 
sidered, forbidden fruit he was tasting. 

He and Joachim spent many a quarter-hour with Anton Kar- 
lowitsch. Also they visited the lad Teddy from the Fridericianum, 
a young exquisite of fourteen years, blond and elegant, with a 
private nurse, and arrayed in white silk corded pyjamas. He was 
rich, he told them, and an orphan. He was here awaiting the mo- 
ment for a serious operation they intended to try, for the removal 
of certain infected parts. Now and again, when he had a good 
day, he would leave his bed and dress in his neat sports attire to 
mingle for an hour in the company below. The ladies liked to 
dally with him, and he listened to their talk, for example to that 
concerning Lawyer Einhuf, the young lady in the combinations, 
and Franzchen Oberdank. Then he would return to his bed. 
Thus idly and elegantly passed the time for the lad Teddy; and it 
was very plain that he expected nothing more from life than just 
this which he had. 

Then there was Frau Mallinckrodt in number fifty, Natalie by 
name, with the black eyes and the gold rings in her ears; coquettish, 
fond of dress, but a perfect Lazarus and Job in female form, 
whom God had been pleased to afflict with every kind of in- 
firmity. Her entire organism seemed infected, and she suffered 
from all possible complaints by turns and simultaneously. The skin 
was sympathetically involved, being covered in large tracts by an 
itching eczema, with open sores here and there, even on the mouth, 
which made feeding difficult. Then she suffered from internal in- 
flammations of various kinds — of the pleura, the kidneys, the 
lungs, the periosteum, even of the brain, so that she was subject 
to loss of consciousness; finally cardiac weakness, the result of 
constant pain and fever, gave her the greatest distress and even 
made it, at times, impossible for her to swallow, so that a mouth- 
ful of food would remain stuck in her throat. The woman’s state 
was truly pitiable, and she was alone in the world; for she had 
left home and children for the sake of a lover, a mere youth, only 
to be forsaken in her turn — all this she herself related to the 
cousins — and now was without a home, if not without means, since 
her husband saw that she should not want. She accepted with no 
false pride the fruits of his charity or his unquenched love, which- 
ever it was, seeing herself quite humbly as a dishonoured and sin- 
ful creature; and so bore all the plagues of Job with astounding 


THE DANCE OF DEATH 


313 

patience and resilience, with the elementary powers of resistance 
of her sex, which triumphed over all the misery of her tawny body, 
and even made of the gauze dressings which she had to wear 
about her head a becoming personal adornment. She changed her 
jewels many times in the day, began with corals in the morning and 
ended at night with pearls. Hans Castorp’s flowers greatly de- 
lighted her; she obviously regarded them as the expression of gal- 
lant rather than charitable sentiments, and invited both young men 
to tea in her room. She drank from an invalid cup, all her fingers 
decked to the joint with opals, amethysts, and emeralds; in no 
long time she had told her guests her story, the golden ear-rings 
swaying as she talked. Told of her respectable, tiresome husband, 
her no less respectable and tiresome children, who were precisely 
like their father, and for whom she had not been able to reel great 
warmth of affection; of the half boy, half man with whom she 
had fled, whose poetic tenderness she never tired of describing. 
But his family had taken him away from her, by guile and force 
commingled — and perhaps he too had been revolted by her ill- 
ness, which had then suddenly and violently broken out. Perhaps 
the gentlemen were revolted too, she asked coquettishly, and her 
inborn femininity triumphed even over the eczema that covered 
half her face. 

Hans Castorp felt only contempt for the revolted lover and 
expressed it by a shoulder-shrug. The poetic youth’s defection 
was as a spur to himself and he began to take occasion to per- 
form what services he could for the unhappy woman, in the 
repeated visits he made to her room: services that required no 
nursing skill, as, for instance, feeding her the midday broth after 
his own meal, giving her to drink when the food stuck in her 
throat, helping her to change her position in bed — for to add to 
everything else she had a wound from an operation, which made 
lying difficult. He practised himself in these acts of benevolence, 
looking in on her on his way to the dining-hall, or when returning 
from a walk, and telling Joachim to go on ahead, he would stop 
for a moment in number fifty, to see after a case; he experienced 
a pleasing sense of expanding being, the fruit of his conviction 
that what he did was both useful in itself and possessed of a secret 
significance. There was also a malicious satisfaction he had in the 
blamelessly Christian stamp his activities bore — it was so clear that 
on no ground whatever, either the military or the humanistic and 
pedagogic, were they open to any serious reproach. 

It was some time after this that they took up Karen Karstedt; 
and both Hans Castorp and Joachim felt peculiarly drawn to 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


3H 

her. She had been up here for years and was an out-patient of 
the Hofrat, who had commended her to the cousins’ benevolence. 
She was entirely without private means and dependent upon un- 
feeling relatives — once, in fact, they had taken her away, since 
she was sure to die in any case; and only at the Hof rat’s inter- 
cession did they send her back. She lived in a modest pension 
in the village; a nineteen-year-old, undersized little person, with 
sleek, oily hair, and eyes for ever timidly trying to hide a brilliance 
that accorded only too well with the hectic flush on her cheek. 
Her voice had the characteristic huskiness, but was sympathetic. 
She coughed almost constantly; and all her finger-ends were 
plastered up, as they had running sores. 

The Hofrat, then, had appealed to the cousins in Karen’s be- 
half — they were such kind-hearted chaps — and they made her 
their especial ward; beginning with the gift of flowers, follow- 
ing on with a visit to the poor child upon her little balcony in 
the village; and continuing with various outings which the three 
took together, to see a skating race or a bob-sleigh competition. 
For the winter sport season was now at its height, there was a 
special week overcrowded with “ events ” — those feats and dis- 
plays to which the cousins had previously paid only cursory atten- 
tion. Joachim was averse from every kind of distraction up here. 
He was not here, he said, on their account; he was not here to 
enjoy life, and to put up with his sojourn in the measure in which 
it furnished him agreeable change and diversion. He was here 
solely and simply to get well as quickly as he could, in order to 
join the service below, real service, not the service of the cure, 
which was but a substitute — though to be sure he grudged any 
falling off in the duty he owed it. He was forbidden to join in the 
sports, to go and gape at them he did not like. As for Hans Castorp, 
he took too seriously, in too stem an inward a sense, his own share 
in the life of those up here to have a thought or a glance for the 
doings of people who made a sports station of the valley. 

But now his benevolent preoccupation with poor Fraulein Kar- 
stedt made some change in these views — and Joachim could hardly 
dissent without seeming un-Christian. They fetched the patient 
at her humble lodging, in glorious, frosty-sunny weather, and 
escorted her through the English quarter, so named after the 
Hotel d’Angleterre, and along the main street, lined with luxuri- 
ous shops. Sleighs were jingling up and down; there were hosts 
of people, the idle rich and pleasure-loving from all over the world, 
who filled the Kurhaus and the other hotels of the place; all hat- 
less, all clad in sports costumes which were the last word in elegance 


THE DANCE OF DEATH 


315 

and beauty of fabric, all bronzed with winter sunburn and the 
glaring reflections from snowy slopes. All this world, including 
the cousins and their protegee, were betaking themselves to the 
rink, which lay in the depth of the valley not far from the Kur- 
haus; in summer it was a meadow, used for football. Music was 
playing, the Kurhaus band, stationed in the gallery of the wooden 
pavilion, above the four-cornered racecourse. Beyond all lay the 
mountains, in deep snow, against a dark-blue sky. Our young 
people passed through the entrance and the crowd that, seated in 
ascending tiers, surrounded the course on three sides; they found 
places for themselves, and sat down to look on. The professional 
skaters, in close-fitting costumes of black tricot with furred and 
braided jackets, cut figures, hovered and balanced, leaped and 
spun. A pair of virtuosi, male and female, professionals and hors 
c one our r, performed feats which they alone in all the world could 
perform, and evoked storms of applause and fanfares of trum- 
pets. Six young men of various nationalities competed for the 
speed prize, and laboured six times round the four-sided course, 
bent over, with their hands behind their backs, some with hand- 
kerchiefs tied round their mouths. A bell rang in the midst of 
the music, and the crowd would burst out now and again with 
shouts of encouragement and applause. 

It was a gay company, in which the three invalids, the cousins 
and their protegee, sat and looked about them. There were white- 
teethed Englishmen in Scotch caps, talking in French to highly- 
scented ladies dressed from head to foot in bright-coloured wool- 
lens — some of them even wore knickerbockers; Americans with 
small, neat heads, on which the hair was plastered down, pipe in 
mouth, and wearing shaggy furs the skin-side out; bearded, ele- 
gant Russians, looking barbaricaily rich, and Malayan Dutch- 
men, all these sitting among the German and Swiss population, 
as well as a sprinkling of indeterminate types — all speaking French 
— perhaps from the Balkans or the Levant. Hans Castorp showed 
a certain weakness for this motley semi-barbarous world; but 
Joachim put it aside as mongrel and questionable. At intervals there 
were events for children, who staggered over the course with a 
snow-shoe on one foot and a ski on the other. In one race each boy 
pushed a girl before him on a shovel; in another the winner carried 
a lighted taper, and must arrive at the goal with it still burning; or 
must climb over obstacles in his path, or pick up potatoes with a 
tin spoon and deposit them in watering-pots placed along the 
course. Everybody was in extravagant spirits. The richest children 
were pointed out, the prettiest and those from well-known fami- 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


316 

lies: there were the little daughter of a Dutch multi-millionaire, 
the son of a Prussian prince, and a twelve-year-old lad who bore 
the name of a champagne known the world over. Young Karen 
was gay with the rest, and coughed persistently as she laughed; 
clapping for joy and very gratitude her poor hands with the 
running finger-ends. 

The cousins took her to see the bob-sleigh races as well. It 
was no distance to the terminus, either from Karen’s lodging or 
from the Berghof; for the track came down from the Schatzalp 
and ended in the village, among the houses on the western slope. 
At that point a hut had been erected, where word was received 
by telephone of the departures up above. 

Then the low sleds would come singly, with long intervals 
between, around the curves of the white course, that shone metallic 
between frozen barriers of snow. The riders were men and women, 
in white woollens, with gay-coloured scarves of all nationalities 
wound about them. They were all red and lusty, and it snowed 
into their faces as they came on. Sledges would skid and upset, roll- 
ing their riders into the snow — and the onlookers would take 
photographs of the scene. Here too music played. The spectators 
sat in small tribunes, or pressed upon the narrow path that had 
been shovelled alongside the course; or thronged the wooden 
bridges which spanned it, watching the sleds that from time to time 
whizzed beneath. This was the path taken by the corpses from the 
sanatorium above, Hans Castorp thought: round these curves, un- 
der these bridges they came, down, down, to the valley below. He 
spoke of it to the others. 

They even took Karen, one afternoon, to the Bioscope Theatre 
in the Platz — she loved it all so very much. The bad air they sat 
in was offensive to the three, used as they were to breathing the 

E urest; it oppressed their breathing and made their heads feel 
eavy and dull. Life flitted across the screen before their smart- 
ing eyes: life chopped into small sections, fleeting, accelerated; a 
restless, jerky fluctuation of appearing and disappearing, per- 
formed to a thin accompaniment of music, which set its actual 
tempo to the phantasmagoria of the past, and with the narrowest 
of means at its command, yet managed to evoke a whole gamut 
of pomp and solemnity, passion, abandon, and gurgling sensuality. 
It was a thrilling drama of love and death they saw silently reeled 
off; the scenes, laid at the court of an oriental despot, galloped 
past, full of gorgeousness and naked bodies, thirst of power and 
raving religious self-abnegation; full of cruelty, appetite, and 
deathly lust, and slowing down to give a full view of the muscular 



THE DANCE OF DEATH 


317 

development of the executioner’s arms. Constructed, in short, to 
cater to the innermost desires of an onlooking international civiliza- 
tion. Settembrini, as critic, Hans Castorp thought, and whispered 
as much to his cousin, would doubtless have sharply character- 
ized what they saw as repugnant to a humanistic sense, and have 
scarified with direct and classic irony the prostitution of tech- 
nical skill to such a humanly contemptible performance. On the 
other hand, Frau Stohr, who was sitting not far from our three 
friends, seemed utterly absorbed; her ignorant red face was twisted 
into an expression of the hugest enjoyment. 

And so were the other faces about them. But when the last 
flicker of the last picture in a reel had faded away, when the 
lights in the auditorium went up, and the field of vision stood 
revealed as an empty sheet of canvas, there was not even applause. 
Nobody was there to be applauded, to be called before the cur- 
tain and thanked for the rendition. The actors who had assembled 
to present the scenes they had just enjoyed were scattered to the 
winds; only their shadows had been here, their activity had been 
split up into millions of pictures, each with the shortest possible 
period of focus, in order to give it back to the present and reel it 
off again at will. The silence of the crowd, as the illusion passed, 
had about it something nerveless and repellent. Their hands lay 
powerless in face of the nothing that confronted them. They 
rubbed their eyes, stared vacantly before them, blinking in the 
brilliant light and wishing themselves back in the darkness, looking 
at sights which had had their day and then, as it were, had been 
transplanted into fresh time, and' bedizened up with music. 

The despot died beneath the knife, with a soundless shriek. 
Then came scenes from all parts of the world: the President of 
the French Republic, in top-hat and cordon, sitting in a landau 
and replying to a speech of welcome; the Viceroy of India, at 
the wedding of a rajah; the German Crown Prince in the court- 
yard of a Potsdam garrison. There was a picture of life in a New 
Mecklenburg village; a cock-fight in Borneo, naked savages blow- 
ing on nose-horns, a wild elephant hunt, a ceremony at the court 
of the King of Siam, a courtesans’ street in Japan, with geishas 
sitting behind w 7 ooden lattices; Samoveds bundled in furs, driv- 
ing sledges drawn by reindeer through the snowy wastes of 
Siberia, Russian pilgrims praying at Hebron; a Persian criminal 
under the knout. They were present at all these scenes; space was 
annihilated, the clock put back, the then and there played on 
by music and transformed into a juggling, scurrying now and 
here. A young Moroccan woman, in a costume of striped silk, with 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


318 

trappings in the shape of chains, bracelets, and rings, her swelling 
breasts half bared, was suddenly brought so close to the camera 
as to be life-sized; one could see the dilated nostrils, the eyes full 
of animal life, the features in play as she showed her white teeth 
in a laugh, and held one of her hands, with its blanched nails, for 
a shade to her eyes, while with the other she waved to the audience, 
who stared, taken aback, into the face of the charming apparition. 
It seemed to see and saw not, it was not moved by the glances 
bent upon it, its smile and nod were not of the present but of the 
past, so that the impulse to respond was baffled, and lost in a feel- 
ing of impotence. Then the phantom vanished. The screen glared 
white and empty, with the one word Finis written across it. The en- 
tertainment was over, in silence the theatre was emptied, a new 
audience took the place of that going out, and before their eager 
eyes the cycle would presently unroll itself again. 

Incited by Frau Stohr, who joined them at the exit, they paid 
a visit to the cafe at the Kurhaus, Karen clapping her hands in 
delighted gratitude. Here too there was music, a small, red- 
uniformed orchestra, conducted by a Bohemian or Hungarian 
first violin, who stood apart from the others, among the dancing 
couples, and belaboured his instrument with frantic wreathings 
of his body. Life here was mondaine: strange drinks were handed 
at the tables. The cousins ordered orangeade for the refreshment 
of their charge and themselves, while Frau Stohr took a brandy and 
sugar. The room was hot and dusty. At this hour, she said, the 
cafe life was not yet in full swing, the dancing became much 
livelier as the evening advanced, and numerous patients from the 
sanatoria, as well as dissipated folk from the hotels and the Kur- 
haus, many more than were here as yet, came later to join the 
fun. More than one serious case had here danced himself into 
eternity, tipping up the beaker of life to drain the last drop, and 
in dulci jubilo suffering his final haemorrhage. The dulci jubilo 
became, on her unlettered lips, something extraordinary. The first 
word she pronounced dolce , with some reminiscence of her musical 
husband’s Italian vocabulary; but the second suggested jubilee , 
or an attempt to yodel, or goodness alone knew what. The cousins 
both devoted themselves assiduously to the straws in their glasses, 
when this Latin was given out — but Frau Stohr took no offence. 
She began, drawing back her lips and showing her rodent-like 
teeth, to drop hints and make insinuations on the subject of the 
relations of the three young people. As far as poor Karen was 
concerned, it was all pretty obvious, and, as Frau Stohr said, she 
could not but enjoy being chaperoned, on her little outings, by 



THE DANCE OF DEATH 


319 

such fine cavaliers. But the other side was not so easy to come at. 
However, ignorance and stupidity notwithstanding, the creature’s 
feminine intuition helped her to a glimpse, even though a partial 
and vulgarized one, of the truth. For she saw, and even teasinglv 
aimed at the fact, that Hans Castorp was the cavalier, and young 
Ziemssen merely in attendance; further — for she was aware of 
the state of Hans Castorp’s feeling toward Madame Chauchat — 
that he was playing the gallant to poor little Karstedt because he 
did not know how to approach the other. It was a simple guess, 
lacking profundity and not actually covering all the facts of the 
case — in short, it was only too worthy of Frau Stohr, and when 
she came out with it, flat-footed, he did not even answer, save 
by a faint smile and an impenetrable stare. So much was true, after 
all, that poor Karen did afford him a substitute, an intangible yet 
real support, as did the rest of his charitable activities. But at the 
same time they were an end in themselves too. The inward satisfac- 
tion he experienced whenever he fed the afflicted Frau Mallinck- 
rodt her broth, or suffered Herr Ferge to tell him once more 
the tale of the infernal pleura-shock, or saw poor Karen clapping 
her ravaged and mortifying hands in grateful joy, was perhaps 
of a vicarious and relative kind; yet it was none the less pure and 
immediate. It was rooted in a tradition diametrically opposed to 
the one Herr Settembrini, as pedagogue, represented — yet seemed 
to him, young Hans Castorp, for all that, not unworthy of having 
applied to it the placet experiri. 

The little house where Karen Karstedt lived lay near the rail- 
way track and the watercourse, on the way to the Dorf, quite 
conveniently for the cousins to fetch her after breakfast for the 
morning walk. Going thence toward the village, to arrive upon 
the main street, one had before one the little Schiahorn, and on its 
right three peaks which were called the Green Towers, but were 
now covered like the rest with snow that gleamed blindingly in 
the sun. Still further to the right came the round summit of the 
Dorfberg, and a quarter of the way up its slope was visible the 
cemetery of the Dorf, surrounded by a wall, obviously command- 
ing a fine view, very likely of the distant lake, and thus sug- 
gesting itself naturally as the goal of a promenade. Thither they 
went, one lovely morning — indeed, all the days now were lovely; 
with a hot sun, a sparkling frost, a deep-blue, windless air, and a 
scene that glittered whitely all abroad. The cousins, one of them 
brick-red in the face, the other bronzed, walked without over- 
coats, which would have been intolerable in this sunshine: young 
Ziemssen in sports clothes, with “ arctics,” Hans Castorp in arctics 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


3 2 ° 

as well, but with long trousers, not feeling worldly enough to don 
short ones. This was the new year, between the beginning and 
middle of February — yes, the last figure in the date had changed 
since Hans Castorp came up here, it was written now with the 
next higher digit. The minute-hand on time’s clock had moved 
one space further on: not one of the large spaces, not one which 
measured the centuries or the decades; it was only the year that 
had been shoved forward by one figure; though Hans Castorp 
had been up here not a whole year yet, but scarcely more than half 
a one, it had jerked itself on, as does the minute-hand of certain 
large clocks, which only register by five minutes at a time; and 
was now pointing motionless, awaiting the moment to move for- 
ward again. But the hand that marked the months would have to 
move on for ten spaces more, only two more, in fact, than it had 
moved since he came up here; for February did not count, being 
once begun — as money changed counts as money spent. 

To the graveyard then, on the slope of the Dorfberg, the three 
wended their way — we tell it to complete the tale of their ex- 
cursions. It was Hans Castorp ’s idea; Joachim probably had 
scruples at first, on the score of poor Karen, but in the end agreed 
that it was useless to pretend with her, or to carry out Frau Stohr’s 
cowardly policy of shielding her from all that could remind her 
of her end. Karen Karstedt was not yet so far on as to display 
the self-deception that marks the last stage. She knew quite well 
how it stood with her, and what the necrosis of her finger-tips 
meant: knew too that her unfeeling relatives would not hear of 
the unnecessary expense of having her sent back home, and that 
it would be her lot, after her exit, to fill a modest space up 
yonder. In short, it might even be said that such an excursion was 
more fitting, morally spoken, than many another, than the cine- 
matograph or the bob-sleigh races, for example — and surely it 
was no more than proper to make those lying up there a visit once 
in a way, as a comradely attention, provided one did not regard 
it as in the same class with an ordinary walk or excursion to a 
point of interest. 

Slowly they went, in single file, up the narrow path that had 
been made in the snow, leaving the highest villas behind and 
below them, and w r atching the familiar scene unroll in its winter 
splendour, a little altered in perspective, and opening out to the 
north-west, toward the entrance of the valley. There was the 
hoped-for view of the lake, now a frozen and snow-covered round, 
bordered with trees; the mountains seemed to slope directly down 
to its farther shore, while beyond these again showed unfamiliar 



THE DANCE OF DEATH 


321 

peaks, all in full snow, overtopping each other against the blue 
sky. The young folk looked at the view, standing in the snow 
before the stone gateway to the cemetery; then they entered 
through the ironwork grille, which was on the latch. 

Here too they found paths shovelled between the small en- 
closures, each of which was surrounded with its railing, each 
containing a number of graves. The snow rounded over and built 
up each smooth and even elevation, with its cross of stone or 
metal, its small monument adorned with medallions and inscrip- 
tions. No soul was to be seen or heard, the quiet remoteness and 
peace of the spot seemed deep and unbroken in more than one 
sense. A little stone angel or cupid, finger on lip, a cap of snow 
askew on its head, stood among the bushes, and might have passed 
for the genius of the place — the genius of a silence so definite 
that it was less a negation than a refutation of speech. The silence 
it guarded was far from being empty of content or character. 
Here it would have been in place for our two male visitors to take 
off their hats, had they had any on. But they were, even Hans 
Castorp, bare-headed; and could only walk reverently, their 
weight on the balls of their feet, making instinctive inclinations 
on one side and the other, single file in the wake of Karen Karstedt, 
as she led the way. 

The cemetery was irregular in shape, having begun as a nar- 
row rectangle facing the south, and then thrown out other rec- 
tangles on both sides. Successive increases in size had evidently 
been necessary, and ploughed land had been taken in. Even so, 
the present enclosure seemed fairly full, both along the wall and 
in the less desirable inner plots; one could hardly see or say just 
where another interment was to take place. The three wandered 
for some time discreetly along the paths, among the enclosures, 
stopping to decipher a name or date here or there. The tablets and 
crosses were modest affairs, that must have cost but little. The in- 
scriptions bore names from every quarter of the earth, they were 
in English or Russian — or other Slavic tongues — also German, 
Portuguese, and more. The dates told their own sad story, for the 
time they covered was generally a short span indeed, the age 
between birth and death averaging not much more than twenty 
years. Not crabbed age, but youth peopled the spot; folk not yet 
settled in life, who from all corners of the earth had come together 
here to take up the horizontal for good and all. 

Somewhere in the thick of the graves, near the heart of the 
acre, lay a small, flat, levelled place, the length of a man, between 
two rounded mounds with wreaths of everlasting hanging on 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


3 22 

their headstones. Involuntarily the three paused here, the young 
girl first, to read the mournful inscriptions; Hans Castorp stood 
relaxed, his hands clasped before him, his eyes veiled and his mouth 
somewhat open, young Ziemssen very self-controlled, and not only 
erect, but even bending a thought backward; and both the cousins 
stole a glance at Karen’s face. She stood there, aware of their 
glance, with modest and shamefaced mien, her head bent on her 
shoulder, blinking her eyes and smiling a strained little smile. 

Walpurgis-Night 

Within the next few days it would be seven months since Hans 
Castorp’s advent among those up here; while Cousin Joachim, 
who had already had five to his credit, would soon be able to look 
back upon twelve; that is to say, upon a whole round year. Round, 
indeed, in a cosmic sense; for^ince the doughty little locomotive 
had set him down at these heights, the earth had completed one 
full course round the sun, and was returned to the point whence it 
had then set out. The carnival season was at hand, and Hans Castorp 
inquired among the old inhabitants of the Berghof what it would 
be like. 

“ Magnifique” answered Settembrini, whom the cousins had 
again encountered on the morning walk. “ Gorgeous,” he said. 
“ Every bit as lively as it is in the Prater. You shall see, Engineer, 
4 the gayest gallants of the night, in brilliant rows advancing,’ ” 
he quoted, and went on in his most mocking vein, couching his 
gibes in sounding phrases, with a telling accompaniment of arm, 
shoulder, and head movements. “ What do you expect? Even in 
maisons de same they have their balls for the fools and idiots. I’ve 
read; why not up here as welP The programme includes various 
danses macabres , as you may imagine; but unfortunately some of 
last year’s guests will not be here — the party being over at half 
past nine, you perceive — ” 

“Do you mean — oh, capital! ” laughed Hans Castorp. “Herr 
Settembrini, you are a wretch! Half past nine — I say, did you 
get thaC ” he turned to his cousin. “ Herr Settembrini means it 
would be too early for some of last year’s guests to take part. 
Ha ha — spooky! He means the ones that have taken leave of the 
flesh and the things of the flesh in the mean time. But I am all 
excitement,” he said. “ I think it’s quite proper to celebrate the 
feasts up here as they come, and mark off the time in the usual 
way. Just a dead level of monotony, without any breaks at all, 
would be too awful for w T ords. We have had Christmas already, 


WALPURGIS-NIGHT 


3 2 3 

we took notice of the beginning of the New Year; and now' comes 
Shrove Tuesday; after that, Palm Sunday, Holy Week, Easter; 
then six weeks after that, Whitsunday; then it is almost midsum- 
mer, the solstice, and we begin to go toward autumn — ” 

“ Stop, stop, stop! ” Settembrini cried, lifting his face to heaven 
and pressing his temples with the palms of his hands. “ Be quiet, 
I cannot listen to you letting go the reins like that! ” 

“ Pardon me, I mean it just the other way. Behrens will finally 
have to make up his mind to the injections, to get rid of my 
infection; my temperature sticks at 99. 3 0 to four, five, six, and 
even seven. I am, and I continue to be, life’s delicate child! I don’t 
mean I am a long-termer, Rhadamanthus hasn’t let me in for any 
definite number of months; but he did say it would be nonsense 
to interrupt the cure, when I’ve been up here so long already, and 
invested so much time, so to speak. Even if he did set a term, 
what good would it do me> When he says, for instance, half a 
year, that is to be taken as the minimum, it is always more. Look 
at my cousin; he was to have finished the beginning of the month 
— finished in the sense of being healed, cured -- and the last time 
Behrens saw him, he stuck on four more to make sure he is en- 
tirely sound — well, then, where are we 5 Why, at the summer 
solstice, just as I said, without the faintest notion of offending 
you, and on the way to winter. Well, well, for the present what 
we have before us is Fasching, and as I say, I consider it fit and 
proper to celebrate it in the usual way, just as it comes in the 
calender. Frau Stohr tells me the concierge sells tin horns in his 
lodge, did you know that? ” 

And so it fell out. Shrove Tuesday came on apace; before one 
had actually seen it on the way, it arrived. All sorts of absurd in- 
struments were snarling and squealing in the dining-hall, even at 
early breakfast; at midday, paper snakes were launched from the 
table where Ganser, Rasmussen, and Fraulein Kleefeld sat. Paper 
caps were mounted; they, like the trumpets, were to be had of the 
concierge. The round-eyed Mams j a was among the first to appear 
in one. But in the evening — ah, in the evening there were festivi- 
ties in the hall and the reception-rooms, in the course of which — 
but we alone know to what, thanks to Hans Castorp’s enterprising 
spirit, these carnival gaieties led up in their course, and we do not 
mean to let our knowledge betray us into indiscretion. We shall 
pay time all the honour due it, and precipitate nothing. Nay, rather, 
we shall incline to protract the tale, out of feeling for young Hans 
Castorp’s moral compunctions, which have so long prevented him 
from crossing his Rubicon. 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


3*4 

Everybody went down to the Platz in the afternoon, to see the 
streets in carnival mood, with harlequins and columbines shaking 
their rattles, with maskers on foot and in jingling, decorated sleighs, 
among whom went forward lively skirmishes, and much confetti 
was flung. Spirits were very high at all seven tables when the guests 
assembled for the evening meal; there was every indication that the 
fun begun abroad would continue in the same key within doors. 
The concierge had done a thriving trade in rattles and tin trumpets; 
Lawyer Paravant had been the first to go further in the same line, 
putting on a lady’s kimono and a braid of false hair belonging to 
Frau Consul-General Wurmbrandt; he wore his moustaches drawn 
down on each side of his mouth with the tongs, and looked the 
very picture of a Chinaman, evoking loud applause from all quar- 
ters. The management had done its share. Each of the seven tables 
was decked with a paper lantern, a coloured moon with a lighted 
candle inside; when Settembrini entered, and passed by Hans Ca- 
storp’s, he quoted: 

“ See the gorgeous tongues of fire — 

Club as gay as heart’s desire — ” 

He brought out the words with his fine, dry smile, and sauntered 
to his place, where he was greeted with a rain of missiles like tiny 
pellets, that broke and scattered a spray of perfume where they fell. 

Yes, from the first moment the key was high. The bursts of 
laughter were unintermitted; paper snakes hung down from the 
chandeliers, swaying to and fro; confetti swam in the sauces; very 
early the dwarf waitress brought in the first ice-pail, the first bottle 
of champagne. Inspired by Lawyer Einhuf, the guests drank it 
mixed with burgundv. Toward the end of the meal the ceiling light 
went out, and only the colourful twilight of the paper lanterns 
illumined the room, making of the scene an Italian night, and set- 
ting the crown upon the mood of the evening. Settembrini passed 
over a paper to Hans Castorp’s table, by the hand of Marusja, who 
sat nearest him, with a green tissue-paper jockey cap on her head; 
on it he had written with a pencil: 

“ But mind, the mountain’s magic-mad to-night, 

And if you choose a will-o’-the-wisp to light 
Your path, take care, ’twill lead you all astray.” 

This was received with enthusiasm, though Dr. Blumenkohl, 
whose state had now much altered for the worse, muttered some- 
thing to himself, with the expression peculiar to him upon his face, 
or rather upon his lips; he seemed to be asking what sort of verses 


WALPURGIS-NIGHT 


3*5 

were these. But Hans Castorp considered that an answer was due, 
he felt it incumbent on him to cap the quotation, though it was 
unlikely he would have produced anything very striking. He 
searched his pockets for a pencil, but found none, nor could Joa- 
chim or the schoolmistress supply his need; and his bloodshot eyes 
looked to the east for aid, to the farther left-hand corner of the 
room — it was plain that his fleeting purpose was dissipated in a 
widening circle of associations. He paled a little, and entirely lost 
sight of his original intention. 

Other good ground there was for paling. Frau Chauchat had 
made special toilet for carnival, she wore a new gown, or at least 
one new to our hero, of thin, dark silk, probably black, or at most 
shot with a golden brown. It was cut with a modest little round 
neck like a schoolgirl’s frock, hardly so much as to show the base 
of the throat, or the collar-bones, or the slightly prominent bone 
at the back of the neck, beneath the soft fringes of her hair. But it 
left free to the shoulder Clavdia’s arms, so tender and yet so full, 
so cool, so amazingly white, set off against the dark silk of her 
frock, with such ravishing effect that it made Hans Castorp close 
his eyes, and murmur within himself: “ O my God! ” He had never 
seen such a mode before. Ball gowns he had seen, stately and cere- 
monial, cut in conformity with a fashion that exposed far more of 
the person than this one did, without achieving a jot of its sensa- 
tional effect. Poor Hans Castorp! He was reminded of a theory he 
had once held about these arms, on making their acquaintance for 
the first time, veiled in diaphanous gauze: that it was the gauze 
itself, the “ illusion ” as he called it, which had lent them their in- 
describable, unreasonable seductiveness. Folly! The utter, accen- 
tuated, blinding nudity of these arms, these splendid members of 
an infected organism, was an experience so intoxicating, compared 
with that earlier one, as to leave our young man no other recourse 
than again, with drooping head, to whisper, soundlessly: “ O my 
God! ” 

Later on, another paper was handed over, on which was written: 

“ Society to heart’s desire -- 
In faith, of brides a party, 

And jolly bachelors on fire 
With forward hopes and hearty.” 

“ Bravo, bravo! ” they shouted. They were drinking coffee by 
now, served in little brown earthenware jugs, and some of them 
liqueurs as well, for instance Frau Stohr, who adored the sweet and 
spirituous. The company began to rise from table, to move about, 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


326 

to pay visits. Part of the guests had already moved into the recep- 
tion-rooms, others remained seated, still faithful to the drink they 
had mingled. Settembrini, coffee-cup in hand, sporting his tooth- 
pick, crossed over and sat down between Hans Castorp and the 
schoolmistress. 

The Harz,’ ” he said. “ ‘ Near Schierke and Elend.’ Did 1 
exaggerate, Engineer? Here's a bedlam for you! But wait, the fun 
is not over so soon; far from leaving off, it has not even reached its 
height. From what I hear, there will be more masquerading; certain 
people have left the room, we are justified in anticipating almost 
anything.” 

Even as he spoke, new maskers entered: women dressed as men, 
with beards and moustaches of burnt cork, betraying themselves 
by their figures and looking like characters in comic opera; men in 
women’s clothes, tripping over their skirts. Here was the student 
Rasmussen in a black jet-trimmed toilet, displaying a pimpled 
decollete and fanning himself front and back with a paper fan; 
there was a Pierrot, costumed m white underwear, with a lady’s 
felt hat, a powdered face that gave his eyes an unnatural expression, 
and lips garish with blood-red pomade — the youth with the finger- 
nail. A Greek from the “ bad ” Russian table, who rejoiced in beau- 
tiful legs, strutted in tights, with short cloak, paper ruff, and dag- 
ger, personating a fairy prince, or a Spanish grandee. All these 
costumes had been improvised since the end of the meal. Frau Stohr 
could sit still no longer. She too disappeared, and presently re- 
turned dressed as a charwoman, with skirt looped up and sleeves 
rolled back; a paper cap tied under her chin, armed wdth pail and 
brush; she began scrubbing about under the tables, among the feet 
of those still sitting. 

See beldam Baubo riding now,’ ” quoted Settembrini, as she 
appeared; and gave the next line too, in his clear and “ plastic ” de- 
livery. She heard it, and retorted by calling him a turkey-cock and 
bidding him keep his filthy jokes to himself. With the licence of the 
season she addressed him, Herr Settembrini, with the thou. But 
indeed this familiarity had become quite general during the meal. 
He girded himself to reply, w r hen a fresh stir and laughter in the 
hall interrupted him, and those in the dining-room looked up ex- 
pectantly. 

Followed by a troop of guests, two singular figures entered. One 
was dressed like a nurse; but her black uniform was marked off 
from head to foot by short white strips close under each other, 
with a longer one at regular intervals, like degrees on a thermom- 
eter. She had one finger laid to her pallid lips, and in her other 



WALPURGIS-NIGHT 


3*7 

hand a fever chart. Her companion was all in blue, with blue paint 
on lips, brows, throat, cheeks, and chin, and a blue woollen cap 
awry over one ear. He was dressed in a “ pull-over ” of glazed blue 
linen, tied round the ankles, and stuffed out into a great paunch 
round the middle. These were Frau litis and Herr Albin; they wore 
cardboard placards, on which were written “ The Silent Sister ” 
and “ The Blue Peter together, with sidling gait they moved 
through the room. 

What applause there was! What ringing shouts! Frau Stohr, her 
broom under her arm and her hands on her knees, laughed like the 
charwoman she impersonated. Only Settembrini was unmoved. He 
cast one glance at the successful maskers and his lips became a fine 
thin line beneath the waving moustaches. 

Among the troop streaming in the rear of the blue and silent 
ones, came Clavdia Chauchat, together with the woolly-haired 
Tamara and the man with the hollow chest, named Buligin, who 
was dressed in evening clothes. Clavdia brushed Hans Castorp’s 
table with the folds of her new gown, and crossed the room to 
where young Ganser and the Kleefeld were sitting. Her compan- 
ions followed the rout out of the dining-hall after the two alle- 
gorical maskers, but she stood there, her hands behind her back, 
laughing and chatting, her eyes like narrow slits. She too had 
mounted a cap — it was not a bought one, but the kind one makes 
for children, a simple cocked hat of white paper, set rakishily on 
her head, and suiting her, of course, to a marvel. Her feet showed 
beneath the dark golden-brown silk of her frock, whose skirt was 
somewhat draped. Of her arms we shall say no more in this place. 
They were bare to the shoulder. 

“ ‘ Look at her well/ ” Hans Castorp heard Herr Settembrini 
say, as though from a distance, following her with his glance as she 
presently left the room. “ ‘ The fair one, see! ’Tis Lilith! 

“ Who? ” asked Hans Castorp. 

Herr Settembrin/s literary soul was pleased. He answered: 
“ ‘ Adam’s first wife is she.’ ” 

Besides themselves there was only Dr. Blumenkohl at the table, 
sitting in his place at the other end. Everyone else, even Joachim, 
was now in the drawing-rooms. Hans Castorp said — and he too 
addressed his companion with the licence of the season, and said 
thou to him: “ Dear me, you’re full of poetry to-night. What Lily 
do you mean? Did Adam marry more than once? I didn’t know it.” 

“ According to the Hebraic mythus, Lilith became a night-trip- 
ping fairy, a 4 belle dame sans merci] dangerous to young men es- 
pecially, on account of her beautiful tresses.” 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


3 28 

“ What the deuce! A hobgoblin with beautiful tresses! You 
couldn’t stand that, could you ? You would come along and turn 
on the electric light and bring the young men back to the path of 
virtue — that’s what you do, isn’t it? ” Hans Castorp said whim- 
sically. He had drunk rather freely of the mixed burgundy and 
champagne. 

“ Hark ye, Engineer — and take heed what I say,” Settembrini 
answered frowning. “ You will kindly address me with the ac- 
cepted form employed in the educated countries of the West, the 
third person pluralis , if I may make bold to suggest it.” 

“Why? Isn’t this carnival? The other is the accepted form 
everywhere to-night.” 

“ Yes, it is — and its charm lies in its very abandon. When stran- 
gers, who would regularly use the third person, speak to each 
other in the second, it is an objectionable freedom, it is wantonly 
playing with the roots of things, and I despise and condemn it, 
because at the bottom the usage is audaciously and shamelessly 
levelled against our civilization and our enlightened humanity. Do 
not, for one moment, imagine I addressed you with this form just 
now. I was quoting from the masterpiece of your national litera- 
ture — I used poetic licence.” 

“ So did I. I am using a sort of poetic licence now, because it 
seems to me to suit the occasion, and that is why I do it. I don’t say 
I find it perfectly natural and easy to say thou to you, on the con- 
trary it costs me an effort, I have to poke myself up to it; but I do 
so freely, gladly, and with all my heart — ” 

“ With all your-” 

“ Yes, quite sincerely, with all my heart. We have been up here 
for some time together — do you realize it is seven months^ That 
is not much, perhaps, as they reckon time here; but in the ordinary 
way it is a good deal, after all. Well, we have spent it with each 
other, because life brought us together. We have met almost daily, 
and had interesting conversations, in part upon subjects of which, 
down below, I should not have had the faintest understanding. But 
up here I have, they seem to me very real and pertinent; and I was 
always very keen, in our discussions, or rather, when you explained 
things to me, as a homo humanus , for of course I was too inexperi- 
enced to contribute anything, and could only feel that all you said 
was highly worth listening to. It is through you I have learned to 
understand such a lot — that about Carducci was the least part of it 
— take the republic and the bello stile and how they hang together, 
or time with human progress, and how if there was no time there 
could be no human progress, and the world would be only a stand- 



WALPURGIS-NIGHT 


329 

ing drain and stagnant puddle — what should I have known of all 
that if it weren’t for you? So I simply address you as though we 
were old and close friends, without further ceremony, and you 
must excuse me, because I don’t know any other way. You sit there, 
and I speak to you like this, and it is all that’s necessary. For you 
are not, to me, just any man, with a name, like another; you are a 
representative, Herr Settembrini, an ambassador to this place and 
to me. Yes, that is what you are,” Hans Castorp asserted, and struck 
the table with the flat of his hand. “ So now I will thank you,” he 
went on, and shoved his champagne and burgundy along the table 
toward Herr Settembrini’s coffee-cup, as though to touch glasses 
with him. “ I thank you for having taken trouble for me in these 
seven months, for having lent a hand to a young donkey in all the 
new experiences that came to him, and tried to influence him for 
his good — sine pecunia , of course — partly by means of anecdote 
and partly in abstractions. I distinctly feel the moment has come 
to thank you for all you have done, and to beg your pardon for 
being a troublesome pupil — a ‘ difficult,’ no, a ‘ delicate child of 
life ’ — that was what you called me. It touched me very much to 
have you say that; and I feel touched every time I think of it. The 
troublesome child — that I have been for you, in your capacity as 
pedagogue — you remember, you came to speak of that on the 
first day we met, it is one of the associations you have taught me, 
the relation between humanism and pedagogy; and there are many 
others I shall think of as time goes on. You must forgive me, then, 
and not think too hardly of me. I drink your health, Herr Settem- 
brini; I drink to those literary endeavours of yours for the elimina- 
tion of human suffering.” He ceased speaking, bent over and 
drained his glass, hiccupped twice, and stood up. “ Now let us join 
the others.” 

“ Why, Engineer, what has come over you? ” the Italian asked 
in surprise, rising in his turn. “ That sounds like a parting.” 

“ A parting 5 No — why? ” Hans Castorp evaded him — not only 
in words, but in action, for he turned as he spoke, describing a 
curve with the upper part of his body, and came to a stop before 
Fraulein Engelhart, who had just entered to fetch them. She said 
that a carnival punch, contributed by the management, was being 
dispensed by no less a person than the Hofrat himself, and bade 
them come if they cared for a glass. So they went together. 

The little round white-covered table, with Hofrat Behrens be- 
hind it, stood the centre of a press of guests, each holding out a 
sherbet cup to be filled, into which the dispenser ladled the steam- 
ing drink out of a tureen. He too had made concessions to the 



THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


330 

carnival spirit: he wore his usual white surgeon’s coat, for even 
to-day his professional activity must go on; but he had added a 
genuine Turkish fez, crimson, with a black tassel dangling over 
one ear. His appearance, of itself sufficiently striking, needed no 
more than this to render it quite outlandish. The long white smock 
exaggerated his height; one felt that if he were to stand erect and 
hold up his head, he would be more than life-size; and atop was the 
small head, with its high colour and unique cast of feature. Never 
before had Hans Castorp been so impressed with its oddity as when 
he saw it to-day under this absurd head-gear: the flat, snub-nosed, 
purple-flushed physiognomy, the watery, goggling blue eyes be- 
neath tow-coloured brows, and the blond, close-trimmed mous- 
tache mounted crookedly above the full, bow-shaped lips. Turned 
away from the steam that wreathed upwards from the bowl, he 
held the ladle high and let the sweet arrack punch run in a brown, 
flowing stream into the glasses they held toward him, rattling on 
the while with his usual flow of whimsical jargon. 

“ Herr Urian sits up above,” Settembrini interpreted in a low 
voice with a wave of the hand. 

Dr. Krokowski was there too, short, stout, solid, with his black 
alpaca shirt fastened like a domino on his shoulders, the sleeves 
dangling. He was holding his punch-glass with his hand at the level 
of his eyes and twisting the wrist round as he talked and jested 
with a group of masqueraders. Music was heard; the tapir-faced 
lady was playing Handel’s Largo on the violin, and then a drawing- 
room sonata by Grieg, characteristically northern in mood. The 
Mannheimer accompanied her on the piano. There was good- 
natured applause, even from the bridge-tables, which had been set 
up and occupied by maskers, with bottles in coolers at their sides. 
The doors were all open, and some of the guests stood in the hall 
as well. A group about the punch-table watched the Hofrat, who 
was introducing a new diversion. Bent over the table with his eyes 
closed and his head thrown back in evidence of good faith, he was 
sketching with his mighty hand a figure on the back of a visiting- 
card, the outline of a pig. It was rather more fanciful than realistic, 
yet undoubtably the lineaments of a pig, which under these diffi- 
cult conditions, without the help of his eyes, he had managed to 
trace. It was a feat, and he could perform it. The little eyes were 
almost in the right place, so was the pointed ear, and the tiny legs 
under the rounded little belly; the curving line of the back ended 
in a small neat ringlet of tail. There was a general “ Ah! ” as he 
finished; then everyone was fired with an ambition to emulate the 
master. What abortions were brought forth! They lacked all co- 



WALPURGIS-NIGHT 


331 

herence. The eyes were outside the head, the legs inside the paunch, 
the line of the latter came nowhere near joining, the little tail curled 
away by itself without organic connexion with the figure, an in- 
dependent arabesque. They nearly split with laughing; the group 
increased. The notice of the bridge party was attracted, the players 
were drawn by curiosity and came up holding their cards fan- 
shaped in their hands. The bystanders watched the performer to 
see that he did not wink — which his feeling of powerlessness made 
him sometimes do; they giggled and guffawed while he committed 
his frantic blunders, and burst out in extravagant mirth when he at 
last opened his eyes and looked down upon his ridiculous handi- 
work. Blatant self-confidence lured everyone on to try his hand. 
The card, a large one, was soon filled on both sides with overlap- 
ping failures. The Hof rat contributed a second from his case: 
whereon Lawyer Paravant, after taking thought, essayed to draw 
a pig without lifting the pencil — and lo, the measure of his un- 
success led all the rest: his creation had no faintest likeness either 
to a pig or to anything else on the broad earth. It was greeted with 
hilarity and boisterous congratulations. Menu cards were fetched 
from the dining-room, and now several people could draw at the 
same time; each performer having his own circle of onlookers and 
aspirants, waiting for the pencil he was using. There were three 
pencils, they snatched them out of each other’s hands. The Hofrat, 
having set the sport afoot, and seen it thriving, withdrew with his 
adjutants. 

Hans Castorp stood in the thick of the crowd, at Joachim’s back, 
watching. He rested his elbow on his cousin’s shoulder and sup- 
ported his chin with all five fingers of that hand, his other arm set 
akimbo on his hip. He was talking and laughing, anxious to try his 
skill; asked on all sides for a pencil, and at length received a stump 
of a thing, hardly to be held between thumb and forefinger. Then 
he shut his eyes, lifted his face to the ceiling, and drew, all the time 
uttering objurgations against the pencil, some horrible inanity upon 
the paper, in his haste spoiling even this, and running off the paper 
on to the tablecloth. “ That doesn’t count! ” he cried as his audi- 
ence burst out in well-merited jeers. “What can you do with a 
pencil like that — deuce take it! ” and he flung the offending morsel 
into the punch-bowl. “ Has anybody a decent one? Who will lend 
me a pencil? I must have another try. A pencil, a pencil, who has a 
pencil? ” he shouted, leaning with his left hand on the table, and 
shaking the other high in the air. There was no answer. Then he 
turned and, passing through the room, went straight up to Clavdia 
Chauchat, who, as he was well aware, was standing near the door 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


33 2 

of the little salon, watching with a smile the throng round the 
punch-table. 

Behind him he heard someone calling — euphonious words, in a 
foreign tongue: “ Eh, Ingegriere! Aspetti! Che cosa fa, Ingegneref 
Un po ’ di ragione sa! Ma e matto questo ragazzo ! ” But he drowned 
out the voice with his own, and Herr Settembrini, flinging up his 
hand with a swing of the arm — a gesture common in his own coun- 
try, whose meaning it would be hard to put into words — and 
giving vent to a long-drawn “ Eh — h! ” turned his back on the 
room and the carnival gaieties. — But Hans Castorp was standing 
on the tiled court of the school yard, gazing at close quarters into 
these blue-grey-green epicanthus eyes, above the prominent cheek- 
bones, and saying: “ Do you happen to have a pencil? ” 

He was deadly pale, as pale as when he had come back blood- 
spattered to the lecture, from that walk of his. The nerves control- 
ling the blood-vessels that supplied his face functioned so well that 
the skin, robbed of all its blood, went quite cold, the nose looked 
peaked, and the hollows beneath the young eyes were lead-col- 
oured as any corpse’s. And the Sympathicus caused his heart, Hans 
Castorp’s heart, to thump, in such a way that it was impossible to 
breathe except in gasps; and shivers ran over him, due to the func- 
tioning of the sebaceous glands, which, with the hair follicles, 
erected themselves. 

She stood there, in her paper cap, and looked him up and down, 
with a smile that betrayed no trace of pity, nor any concern for 
the ravages written on his brow. The sex knows no such com- 
passion, no mercy for the pangs that passion brings; in that element 
the woman is far more at home than the man, to whom, by his very 
nature, it is foreign. Nor does she ever encounter him in it save 
with mocking and malignant joy — compassion, indeed, he would 
have none of. 

He had used the second person singular. She answered: “ I? Per- 
haps I have, let me see.” Her voice and smile did betray an excite- 
ment, a consciousness — such as comes when the first word is 
uttered in a relationship long secretly sustained — a subtle con- 
sciousness, which concentrates all the past in a single moment of 
the present. “ You are so eager — you are very ambitious ” — she 
continued thus to mock him, in her slightly veiled, pleasantly husky 
voice, with her quaint pronunciation, giving a foreign sound to 
the r and making the vowels too open, even accenting the word 
ambitious on the first syllable, with exotic effect; rummaging and 
peering the while in her leather bag, whence she fetched out, first 
a handkerchief, and then a little silver pencil, slender and fragile, a 


WALPURGIS-NIGHT 333 

pretty trinket scarcely meant for use — the other, the first one, had 
been something more to take hold of. 

“ Voild ” she said, and held the toy by its end before his eyes, 
between thumb and forefinger, and lightly turned it to and fro. 

Since she thus both gave and withheld it, he took it, so to speak, 
without receiving it: that is, he held out his hand, with the fingers 
ready to grasp the delicate thing, but not actually touching it. His 
eves — in their leaden sockets — went from the little object to 
Clavdia’s Tartar physiognomy. His bloodless lips were open, and 
so remained, he did not use them to utter the words, as he said: 
“ You see, I knew you would have one.” 

“ Prenez garde , il est un peu fragile” she said. “ Cest d visser , tu 
iais.” 

Their heads bent over it together, and she showed him the 
mechanism — it was quite ordinary, the little needle of hard, prob- 
ably worthless lead came down as one loosened the screw. 

They stood bent toward each other. The stiff collar of his eve- 
ning dress served him to support his chin. 

“ A poor thing — but yours” he said, brow to brow with her, 
speaking down upon the pencil, stiff -lipped, so that most of the 
labials went unsounded. 

“ Ah, so you are even witty,” she answered him, with a short 
laugh. She straightened up, and surrendered the pencil. It is a ques- 
tion by what means he was witty, since it was plain there was not 
a drop of blood in his head. “ Well, away with you, go and draw, 
draw yourself out! ” And wittily in her turn, she seemed to drive 
him away. 

“ But you have not drawn yet, you must draw too,” he said, 
without managing the m in must, and drew a step backwards, in- 
vitingly. 

“ I? ” she said again, with an inflection of surprise which seemed 
to have reference to something else than his invitation. She stood 
a moment in smiling confusion, then as if magnetized followed him 
a few steps toward the punch-table. 

But interest in the activity there seemed to have fallen away. 
Someone was still drawing, but without an audience. The cards 
were covered with futilities, they had all done their worst, and 
now the current had set in another direction. Directly the doctors 
had left the scene, the word had gone round for a dance, already 
the tables were being pushed back; spies were posted at the doors 
of the writing- and music-rooms, with orders to give the sign in 
case the “ old man,” Krokowski, or the Oberin should show them- 
selves. A young Slavic youth attacked con espressione the key- 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


334 

board of the little nut-wood piano, and the first couple began to 
turn about within an irregular circle of chairs and tables, on which 
the spectators perched themselves. 

Hans Castorp dismissed the departing punch-table with a wave 
of the hand, and indicated with his chin two empty seats in a shel- 
tered comer of the small salon, near the portieres. He did not 
speak, perhaps because the music was too loud. He drew up a seat 
— it was a reclining-chair with plush upholstery — for Frau Chau- 
chat, in the comer he had indicated, and took for himself a creak- 
ing, crackling basket-chair with curling arms, in which he sat 
down, bent forward toward her, his own arms on the arms of the 
chair, her pencil in his hand and his feet drawn back under his seat. 
She lay buried in the plushy slope, her knees brought high; not- 
withstanding which, she crossed one leg over the other, and swung 
her foot in the air, in its black patent-leather shoe and black silk 
stocking spanned over the anklebone. There was a coming and 
going in the room, some of the guests standing up to dance, while 
others took their places to rest. 

“ You’ve a new frock on,” he said, as an excuse for looking at 
her; and heard her answer. 

“ New? So you are acquainted with my wardrobe? ” 

“ Am I right? ” 

“ Yes — I had it made here lately; the tailor down in the village, 
Luka^ek, did it. He does work for several of the ladies up here. Do 
you like it? ” 

“ Very much,” he said, surveying her once more and then cast- 
ing down his eyes. “ Would you like to dance? ” he added. 

“ Would you like to? ” she asked, with lifted brows, yet smiling, 
and he answered: 

“ I would, if you wished.” 

“ That is not so brave as I thought you were,” she said, and when 
he laughed deprecatingly, she went on: “ Your cousin has gone up 
already.” 

“ Yes, he is my cousin,” he confirmed her, unnecessarily. “ I 
noticed he had gone, he is probably in the rest-cure by now.” 

“ C’est un jeune homme tres etroit, tres honnete , tres allemand ” 

“ Etroit? Honnete? ” he repeated. “ I understand French better 
than I speak it. You mean he is pedantic. You think we are pedantic, 
we Germans — nous autres allemands? ” 

“ Nous causons de votre cousin. Mais c'est vrai , you are a little 
bourgeois. V bus aimez Vordre mieux que la liberte , toute V Europe 
le sait” 

“ Aimer , aimer — qu'est-ce que c'est? Ca manque de definition. 



WALPURGIS-NIGHT 


335 

ce mot la. We love what we have not — that is proverbial,” Hans 
Castorp asserted. “ Lately/’ he went on, “ I’ve thought very much 
about liberty. That is, I’ve heard the word so often, I’ve begun to 
think about it. Je te le dirai en frangais , what I have been thinking. 
Ce que toute FEurope nomine la liberte , Pest peut-etre une chose 
assez pedante et assez bourgeoise en comparaison de notre besoin 
d’ordre — Pest gaf ” 

“ Tiens! Cest amusant! Cest ton cousin a qui tu penses en di - 
sant des choses etranges comme ga? ” 

“ No, Pest vraiment une bomie ame , a simple nature, not exposed 
to intellectual dangers, tu sais. Mais il n'est pas bourgeois, il est 
militaire .” 

“ Not exposed? ” she repeated his word, not without difficulty. 
“ Tu veux dire une nature tout a fait ferme , sur d?elle-meme? Mais 
il est serieuseme?it malade, ton pauvre cousin .” 

“ Who told you so? ” 

“ We all know about each other, up here.” 

“ Was it Hofrat Behrens 5 ” 

“ Peut-etre en me faisant voir ces tableaux .” 

“ Cest a dire : en faisant ton portrait ! ” 

“ Pourquoi pas ? Tu Fas trouve reussi , mon portrait ? ” 

“ Mais oui, extremement. Behrens a tres exactement rendu ta 
peau , oh, vraiment tres fidelement. faimerais beaucoup etre por- 
traitiste, moi aussi , pour avoir F occasion d'etudier ta peau comme 
luiP 

“ Parle z allemand, s'il vous plait! ” 

“ Oh, I speak German, even in French. Cest une sorte d? etude 
artistique et medicale — en un mot: il s'agit des lettres humaines, 
tu comprends. — What do you say, shall we dance? ” 

“ Oh, no, it would be childish — behind their backs! Aussitot 
que Behrens reviendra , tout le monde va se pre cipher sur les 
chaises . Ce sera fort ridicule .” 

“ Have you such respect for him as that? ” 

“ For whom? ” she said, giving her query a curt, foreign in- 
tonation. 

“ For Behrens.” 

“ Mais va done avec ton Behrens! But there really is not room to 
dance. Et puis sur le tapis — Let us look on.” 

“ Yes, let’s,” he assented, and gazed beyond her, with his blue 
eyes, his grandfather’s musing eyes, in his pale young face, at the 
antics of the masked patients in salon and writing-room. There was 
the Silent Sister capering with the Blue Peter, there was Frau Salo- 
mon as master of ceremonies, dressed in evening clothes with a 



THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


336 

white waistcoat and swelling shirt-front; she wore a monocle and a 
tiny painted moustache, and twirled upon tiny, high-heeled patent- 
leather shoes, that came out oddly beneath her black trousers, as 
she danced with the Pierrot, whose blood-red lips stared from his 
ghastly white face, with the eyes of an albino rabbit. The Greek 
flourished his symmetrical legs in their lavender tights alongside 
the darkly glittering Rasmussen in his low-cut gown. Lawyer Para- 
vant in his kimono, Frau Consul-General Wurmbrandt, and young 
Ganser danced all three together, with their arms round each other. 
As for Frau Stohr, she danced with her broom, pressing it to her 
heart and caressing the bristles as though they were a man’s hair. 

“ Yes, let’s,” Hans Castorp repeated, mechanically. They spoke 
in low tones, covered by the music. “ Let us sit here, and look on, 
as though in a dream. For it is like a dream to me, that we are sit- 
ting like this — comme un reve singulierement profond , car il 
faut dormir tres profondement pour rever comme cela. Je veux 
dire — c'est un reve bien connu , reve de tout temps , long, eternel, 
oui, etre assis pres de toi comme a present , voild Peternite 
“ Poete! ” she said. “ Bourgeois, humaniste, et poete — voild 
Pallemand au comp let, comme il faut! ” 

“ Je crains que nous ne soyons pas du tout et nullement comme 
il faut” he answered. “ Sous aucun egard. Nous somme s peut-etre 
des delicate children of life, tout simplement .” 

“ Joli mot. Dis-moi done. — 1 1 rtaurait pas ete fort difficile de 
rever ce reve-la plus tot. Cest un pen tard, que monsieur se resout 
d’adresser la parole d son humble servante ” 

“ Pourquoi des paroles? ” he said. “ Pourquoi parler? Parler, 
discourir, e'est une chose bien republicaine, je le concede. Mats je 
doute, que ce soit poetique au meme degre. Un de nos pension - 
naires, qui est un peu devenu mon ami, M. Settembrini — ” 

“ 11 vient de te lancer quelques paroles ” 

“ Eh bien, e'est un grand parleur sa?is doute, il aime meme beau- 
coup a reciter de beaux vers — mais est-ce un poete, cet homme- 
Id? ” 

“ Je regrette sincerement de rC avoir jamais eu le plaisir de faire la 
connaissance de ce chevalier 
“ Je le crois bien.” 

“ Ah, tu le crois? ” 

“ Comment? Cetait une phrase tout-d-fait indifferente, ce que 
j’ai dit la. Moi, tu le remarques bien , je ne parle guere le frangais . 
Pourtant, avec toi je prefere cette langue a la mienne, car pour mot , 
parler frangais, Eest parler sans parler, en quelque maniere — sans 
responsabilite, ou comme nous par Ions en reve. Tu comprends? ” 


WALPURGIS-NIGHT 


337 


“ A peu pres” 

44 Ca suffit. — Parler ” went on Hans Castorp, 44 pauvre affaire ! 
Dans Veternite , on ne parle point. Dans Veternite , tu sais y on fait 
comme en dessinant un petit cochon : on penche la tete en arriere 
et on ferme les yeux” 

“ Pas mal , ga! Tues chez toi dans Veternite , sans aucun doute y tu 
le connais a fond . 11 faut avouer , que tu es un petit reveur assez 
curieux” 

44 Et puis” said Hans Castorp, “ si je P avals parle plus tot, U 
ni’aurait fallu te dire ‘ vous 7 ” 

44 Eh bien, est-ce que tu as V intention de me tutoyer pour tou- 
jours? ” 

44 Mais oui. Je Pai tutoye de tout temps et je te tutoierai eter- 
nellement” 

“ Cest un peu fort , par exemple. En tout cas , tu n’auras pas trop 
longtemps V occasion de me dire ‘ tu Je vais partir.” 

It took time for the words to penetrate his consciousness. Then 
he started up, staring about him as though roused out of a dreanr 
The conversation had proceeded rather slowly, for Hans Castorp 
spoke French uneasily, feeling for the sense. The piano had been 
silent awhile, now it sounded again, under the hands of the man 
from Mannheim, who had relieved the Slavic youth. He put some 
music in place, and Fraulein Engelhart sat down beside him to turn 
the leaves. The party was thinning out; many of the guests had 
presumably taken up the horizontal. From where they sat they 
could see no one; but there were players at the card-tables in the 
writing-room. 

44 You are going to — what? ” Hans Castorp asked, quite dashed. 

“Iam going away,” she repeated, smiling with pretended sur- 
prise at his discomfiture. 

“ Impossible,” he said. 44 You are jesting.” 

44 Not at all. I am perfectly serious. I am leaving.” 

44 When? ” 

44 To-morrow. Apres diner” 

There took place within him a feeling of general collapse. He 
said: “ Where? ” 

44 Far away.” 

44 To Daghestan? ” 

44 Tu nks pas mal instruit. Peut-etre , pour le moment — ” 

44 Are you cured, then? ” 

44 Quant a ga — non. But Behrens thinks there is not greatly more 
to be gained here, for the present. Cest pourquoi je vais risquer 
un petit changement (Pair” 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


338 

“ Then you are coming back! ” 

“ That is the question. Or, rather, the question is when. Quant 
a moi, tu sais , faime la liberte avant tout et notamment celle de 
choisir mon domicile. Tune comprends guere ce que Test : d'etre 
obsede d'independance. (Test de ma race , peut-etreP 
“ Et ton mart au Daghestan te Vaccorde — ta liberte? ” 

“ C'est la maladie qui me la rend. Me voild a cet endroit pour la 
troisieme fois. J'ai passe un an ici, cette fois. Possible que je re- 
vienne. Mais alors tu seras bien loin depuis longtempsP 
“ You think so, Clavdia^ ” 

“ Mon prenom aussi! V raiment tu les prends bien au serieux , les 
coutumes du carnaval! ” 

“ Then you know about my case too? ” 

“ Oui — non — comme on sail ces choses ici. Tu as une petite 
tache humide la dedans et un peu de fievre, n'est-ce pas? ” 

“ Trente-sept et huit ou ?ieuf Vapres-midi ,” said Hans Castorp. 
“ And you? ” 

“ Oh, mon cas , tu sais, c'est un peu plus complique — pas tout-a- 
fait simpleP 

“ // y a quelque chose dans cette branche de lettres humaines dite 
la medecine Hans Castorp said, “ qu'on appelle bouchement tu- 
ber culeux des vases de lympheP 

“ Ah! Tu as moucharde, mon cher, on le voit bienP 
“ Et toi — forgive me! Let me ask you a question — ask it in all 
earnestness: six months ago, when I left the table for my first ex- 
amination — you looked round after me — do you remember? ” 

“ Quelle question! II y a six mois! ” 

“ Did you know where I was going? ” 
u Certes , c'etait tout-d-fait par hasard — ” 

“ Behrens had told you? 

“ Toujours ce Behrens! ” 

“ Oh, il a repre sente ta peau d'une fapon tellement exact e — 
D'ailleurs, Test un veuf aux joues ar dentes et qui possede un service 
a cafe tres remarquable. Je crois bien qu'il connait ton corps non 
seulement comme medecin , mais aussi comme adepte Tune autre 
discipline de lettres humainesP 

“ Tu as decidement raison de dire, que tu paries en reve, mon 
amiP 

“ Soit. Laisse-moi rever de nouveau , apres m? avoir reveille si 
cruellement par cette cloche d'alarme de ton depart. Sept mois sous 
tes yeux — et a present, ou en realite fai fait ta connaissance , tu me 
paries de depart! ” 

“ Je te repete, que nous aurions pu causer plus totP 


WALPURGIS-NIGHT 


339 


“ You would have liked it? ” 

“ Moi? Tu ne m'echapperas pas, mon petit . 11 s’ a git de tes in - 
terets y a toi . Est-ce que tu etais trop timide pour fappr ocher d’une 
femme a qui tu paries en reve maintenanty ou est-ce quit y avait 
quelquCun qui fen a empeche? ” 

“ Je te Vai dit . Je ne voulais pas te dire ‘ vous? ” 

“ Farceur! Reponds done — ce monsieur beau parleur, cet italien- 
la qui a quitte la soiree — qu y est-ce qu'il fa lance tantot? ” 

“ Je n'en ai entendu absolument rien. Je me soucie tres peu de ce 
monsieur , quand mes yeux te voient. Mais tu oublies — il ri* aurait 
pas ete si facile du tout de faire ta connaissance dans le monde. II 
y avait encore mon cousin , avec qui f etais lie et qui incline tres peu 
a s'amuser ici; il ne pense a rien qifd son retour dans les plaines y 
pour se faire soldat.” 

“ Pauvre diable ! 11 est , en effet , plus malade qu'il ne salt. T on ami 
italien du reste ne va pas trop bien non plus 

“ Il le dit lui-meme. Mais mon cousin — est-ce vrai? Tu m'ef- 
f rales 

“ Fort possible qu'il va mourhy s’il essay e d'etre soldat dans les 
plainest 

“ Qu'il va mourir. La mort. Terrible mot y n y est-ce pas ? Mais 
e'est etrangey il ne m'impressionne pas tellement aujourd' hui y ce 
mot. C’etait une fagon de parler bien conventionnelle y lorsque je 
disais: * Tu m'effraies! Uidee de la mort ne m'effraie pas. Elle me 
laisse tranquille. Je n'ai pas pitie — ni de mon bon Joachim ni de 
moi-meme 7 en entendant qu'il va peut-etre mourir . Si e'est vraiy 
son etat ressemble beaucoup au mien et je ne le trouve pas particu- 
lierement imposant. 11 est moribondy et moi 7 je suis amoureuXy eh 
bie?i! — Tu as parle a mon cousin a /’ atelier de photographic intime , 
dans Vantichambre, tu te souviens 
“ Je me souviens un peuT 

“ Done ce jour-la Behrens a fait ton portrait transparent! ” 

“ Mais ouiT 

“ Mon dieu! Et Vas-tu sur toi? ” 

“ Non, je Vai dans ma chambre 

“ Ah — dans ta chambre. Quant au mien , je Vai toujour s dans 
mon portefeuille. Veux-tu que je te le fasse voir? ” 

“ Mille remer dements. Ma curiosite n'est pas invincible. Ce sera 
un aspect tres innocent 

“ Moi, j'ai vu ton portrait exterieur. J'aimerais beaucoup mieux 
voir ton portrait interieur qui est enferme dans ta chambre. Laisse- 
moi demander autre chose! Parfois un monsieur russe qui loge en 
ville vient te voir. Qui est-ce? Dans quel but vient-il , cet homme? ” 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


340 

“ Tu es joliment fort en espionnage , je Vavoue. Eh bien y je 
reponds . Oui , c'est un compatriote souffrant , ww aw*. /’ai fazZ 
connaissance a une autre station balneaire , il y 0 quelques annees 
deja. Nos relations ? Les voild: nous prenons notre the ensemble , 
nous fumons deux ou trois papiros , et nous bavardons y nous philo- 
sophons , wows parlons de Vhomme , de Diew, de /<z vie, de /tf morale , 
de mille choses. Voild mon compte rendu. Es-tu satisfait? ” 

“ De /# morale aussi! Et qiCest-ce que vous avez trouve en fait de 
morale , parr exemple ? ” 

u Ldi morale? Cela finteresse? Eh bien y il nous semble y quHl fau- 
drait chercher la morale non dans la vertu, c i est-a-dire dans la rai- 
son , discipline y les bonnes mceurs y Fhonnetete , mats plutot dans le 
contraire y je veux dire dans le peche y e?i s' dbandonnant au danger , 
i ee nuisible , i ce qui nous consume. 11 nous semble qu'il est 

plus moral de se perdre et meme de se laisser deperir, que de se 
conserver. Les grands moralistes n'etaient point de vertueux, mats 
des aventuriers dans le mal y des vicieux y des grands pecheurs qui 
nous enseignent a nous incliner chretiennement devant la misere. 
Tout pa doit te deplaire beaucoup y n'est-ce pas? ” 

He was silent; sitting as before, with his feet twined together, 
thrust back beneath the creaking wicker chair, leaning toward the 
figure opposite, in its cocked hat; her pencil between his fingers. 
With Hans Lorenz Castorp’s blue eyes he looked out into the room. 
It was empty, the company dispersed. The piano, in the comer 
diagonally opposite, was being touched softly and lightly with one 
hand, by the Mannheimer, by whose side sat Fraulein Engelhart, 
turning the leaves of a music-book she held on her knee. At this 
pause which had ensued in the conversation between Hans Castorp 
and Clavdia Chauchat, the pianist left off playing, and sat with his 
hand in his lap, while Fraulein Engelhart continued to turn the 
pages of her music-book. These four alone remained, from all the 
carnival merry-makers; they sat here motionless. The silence lasted 
several minutes. Deeper and deeper, under its weight, sank the 
heads of the pair at the piano: his toward his keyboard, hers toward 
her book; but at last the two as by common consent stood up cau- 
tiously, and carefully refraining from any glance in the direction 
of the opposite comer, their heads drawn down in their shoulders, 
their arms hanging stiffly at their sides, disappeared together, on 
tiptoe, through the writing-room. 

“ Everyone is going,” said Frau Chauchat. “ C'etaient les der- 
niers. 11 se fait tard. Eh bien y la fete de carnaval est finie.” She 
raised her arms to remove the paper cap from her head, with its 


WALPURGIS-NIGHT 


341 

reddish braid wound round it like a wreath. “ V ous connaissez les 
consequences , monsieur 

But Hans Castorp gainsaid them, closing his eves, and not other- 
wise changing his position. He answered: “ Jamais , Clavdia. Jamais 
je te dirai L vousf jamais de la vie ni de la mort , if one may say that 
— one should be able to. Cette forme de s'adresser a une personne , 
qui est celle de V Occident cultive et de la civilisation humanitaire, 
me semble fort bourgeoise et pedante. Pourquoi , au fond , de la 
forme? La forme , Test la pedanterie elle-meme! T out ce que vous 
avez fixe a regard de la morale , toi et ton co?npatriote souffrant — 
tu veux serieusement que ga me surprenne? Pour quel sot me 
prends-tu? Dis done , qTest-ce que tu penses de mol ? ” 

“ Cest un sujet qui ne donne pas beaucoup a petiser. Tu es un 
petit bonhomme convenable , de bonne famille , d'une tenue ap- 
petissante , disciple docile de ses precepteurs et qui retournera 
bientot dans les plaines , pour oublier completement qTil a jamais 
parle en reve ici et pour aider a rendre son pays grand et puissant 
par son travail honnete sur le chantier . Voila ta photographie in- 
time, faite sans appareil. Tu la trouves exacte , j’espere? ” 

“ 11 y manque quelques details que Behrens y a trouves .” 

“ Ah, les medecins en trouvent toujours, ils s’y connaissent 

“ Tu paries comrne M. Settembrini. Et ma fievre ? Uou vient - 
elle? ” 

“ Allons done , z /72 incident sans consequence qui passera 

vite 

“ N<972, Clavdia , ce gz/e Zw dzV la if est pas vrai et 

tu le dis sans conviction , j ? en suis sur. La fievre de mon corps et le 
battement de mon coeur harasse et le frissonement de mes membres , 
c’ejf /e contraire Tun incident , car cc tz’c^Z riezz d' autre ” — and his 
pale face with the twitching lips bent closer over hers — “ r/ezz 
d' autre que mon amour pour toi , oui , ccz amour qui m'a saisi a 
/’ instant, ou mes yeux Pont vue, ou, plutot, que j’ai reconnu qvand 
je Pai reconnue toi — et Tetait lui , evidemment , qui m'a mcne a cet 
endroit — ” 

“ Quelle folie! ” 

“ OAz, l' amour Test rien , s’il Test pas de la folie, une chose in - 
sensee , def endue et une aventure dans le mal . Autrement , e’esz wzzc 
banalite agreable, bonne pour en faire de petites chansons paisibles 
dans les plaines. Mais quant a ce que je Pai reconnue et que j y ai 
reconnu mon amour pour toi — oui, Test vrai, je Pai de'ja connue, 
mciennement , toi et tes yeux merveilleusement obliques et ta 
bouche et ta voix , avec laquelle tu paries — une fois dejd , lorsque 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


342 

fetais collegien, je fai demands ton crayon , pour faire enfin ta 
connaissance mondaine , parceque je faimais irraisonablernent , ef 
c'est de Id, sans doute , Je 7^072 ancien amour pour toi , gz/e 

eej marques me re stent que Behrens a trouvees dans mon corps , ef 
indiquent que jadis aussi fetais malade — ” 

His teeth struck together. As he raved, he had drawn one foot 
from under his chair, and moved it forward, so that the other knee 
touched the floor, there he knelt before her, his head bent, his 
whole body quivering. “ Je t'aitne ” he babbled, “ je t’ai aimee de 
tout temps , car tu es le Toi de ma vie , mon reve, mon sort , mon 
envie , mon eternel desir — ” 

u A lions, allons! ” she said. “ Si tes precepteurs te voyaient — ” 
But he shook his head, violently, bowed as it was toward the 
carpet, and replied: “ Je rrien ficherais , je me fiche de tous ces 
Carducci et de la Republique eloquente et du pr ogres humain dans 
h temps , car je t'aime! ” 

She caressed softly the close-cropped hair at the back of his 
head. 

“ Petit bourgeois! ” she said. “ Joli bourgeois a la petite tache 
humide. Est-ce vrai que tu m'aimes tant? ” 

And beside himself at her touch, now on both his knees, with 
bowed head and closed eyes, he went on: “ Oh, V amour, tu sais 
— Le corps, V amour, la mort, ces trois ne -font qtfun. Car le corps , 
c' est la maladie et la volupte, et c'est lui qui fait la mort, oui, ils sont 
charnels tous deux, V amour et la mort, et voild leur terreur et leur 
grande magie! Mais la mort, tu comprends, c'est d'une part une 
chose mal famee, impudent e , qui fait rough de honte; et J ’ autre 
part c'est une puissance tres solennelle et tres majestueuse — beau- 
coup plus haute que la vie riant e gagnant de la monnaie et farcis- 
sant sa panse — beaucoup plus venerable que le pr ogres qui bavarde 
par les temps — parcequ’elle est Vhistoire et la noblesse et la piete 
et r eternel et le sacre qui nous fait tirer le chapeau et marcher sur 
la pointe des pieds. — Or, de meme, le corps, lui aussi, et V amour 
du corps, sont une affaire indecente et fdcheuse , et le corps rough 
et palit a sa surface par frayeur et honte de lui-meme. Mais aussi il 
est une grande gloire adorable, image miraculeuse de la vie orga- 
nique, sainte merveille de la forme et de la beaute , et V amour pour 
lui, pour le corps humain , d est de meme un inter-et extremement 
humanitaire et une puissance plus educative que toute la pedagogie 
du monde! Oh, enchantante beaute organique qui ne se compose ni 
de teinture d Phuile ni de pierre, mais de matiere vivante et corrup- 
tible, pleine du secret febrile de la vie et de la pourriture! Regarde 
la symetrie merveilleuse de Pedifice humain, les epaules et les 


WALPURGIS-NIGHT 


343 

hanches et les mamelons fleurissants de part et d! autre sur la poi - 
trine, et les cotes arrangees par paires , et le nombril au milieu dans 
la mollesse du ventre, et le sexe obscur entre les cuisses! Regarde les 
omoplates se rerrmer sous la peau soyeuse du dos , et Ye chine qui 
descend vers la luxuriance double et fraiche des f esses, et les grandes 
branches des vases et des nerfs qui passent du tronc aux rameaux 
par les aisselles, et comrne la structure des bras correspond a celle 
desjambes. Oh, les douces regions de la jointure interieure du coude 
et du jarret, avec leur abondance de delicatesses organiques sous 
leurs coussins de chair! Quelle fete immense de les caresser , ces en- 
droits delicieux du corps humain! Fete d mounr sans plainte apres! 
Oui , mon dieu, laisse-moi sentir Yodeur de la peau de ta rotule , sous 
laquelle Yingenieuse capsule articulaire secrete son huile glissante! 
Laisse-moi toucher devotement de ma bouche YArteria femoralis 
qui bat au front de t a cuisse et qui se divise plus bas en les deux 
arteres du tibia! Laisse-moi ressentir Y exhalation de tes pores et 
tdter ton duvet , image humaine d'eau et d'albumine , destinee pour 
Yanatomie du tombeau , et laisse-moi perir, mes levres aux tiennes! ” 
He did not stir, or open his eyes; on his knees with bowed head, 
his hands holding the silver pencil oustretched before him, he re- 
mained, swaying and quivering. 

She said: “ Tu es en effet un galant qui salt solliciter dYune 
maniere profonde, a Yallemande And she set the paper cap on his 
head. 

“ Adieu, mon prince Carnaval! V bus aurez une mauvaise ligne 
de fievre ce soir , je vous le predis .” 

She slipped from her chair, and glided over the carpet to the 
door, where she paused an instant, framed in the doorway; half 
turned toward him, with one bare arm lifted high, her hand upon 
the hinge. Over her shoulder she said softly: “ N’oubliez pas de 
me rendre mon crayon” 

And went out. 


L 




CHAPTER VI 


Changes 

What is time" A mystery, a figment — and all-powerful. It con- 
ditions the exterior world, it is motion married to and mingled 
with the existence of bodies in space, and with the motion of 
these. Would there then be no time if there were no motion 5 
No motion if no time? We fondly ask. Is time a function of 
space? Or space of time 5 Or are they identical 5 Echo answers. 
Time is functional, it can be referred to as action; we say a thing 
is “ brought about ” by time. What sort of thing 5 Change! Now 
is not then, here not there, for between them lies motion. But the 
motion by which one measures time is circular, is in a closed 
circle; and might almost equally well be described as rest, as 
cessation of movement — for the there repeats itself constantly 
in the here, the past in the present. Furthermore, as our utmost 
effort cannot conceive a final limit either to time or in space, we 
have settled to think of them as eternal and infinite — apparently 
in the hope that if this is not very successful, at least it will be 
more so than the other. But is not this affirmation of the eternal 
and the infinite the logical-mathematical destruction of every 
and any limit in time or space, and the reduction of them, more 
or less, to zero? Is it possible, in eternity, to conceive of a sequence 
of events, or in the infinite of a succession of space-occupying 
bodies 5 Conceptions of distance, movement, change, even of the 
existence of finite bodies in the universe — how do these fare 5 
Are they consistent with the hypothesis of eternity and infinity 
we have been driven to adopt? Again we ask, and again echo 
answers. 

Hans Castorp revolved these queries and their like in his brain. 
We know that from the very first day of his arrival up here his 
mind had been much disposed to such sleeveless speculation. 
Later, perhaps, a certain sinister but strong desire of his, since 
gratified, had sharpened it the more and confirmed it in its gen- 
eral tendency to question and to carp. He put these queries to 



CHANGES 


345 

himself, he put them to good cousin Joachim, he put them to 
the valley at large, lying there, as it had these months on end, 
deep in snow; though from none of these quarters could he ex- 
pect anything like an answer, from which the least would be 
hard to say. For himself, it w T as precisely because he did not 
know the answers that he put the questions. For Joachim, it was 
hardly possible to get him even to consider them, he having, as 
Hans Castorp had said, in French, on a certain evening, nothing 
else in his head but the idea of being a soldier down below. 
Joachim wrestled with these hopes of his, that now seemed al- 
most within his grasp, now receded into the distance and mocked 
him there; the struggle grew daily more embittered, he even 
threatened to end it once for all by a single bold bid for liberty. 
Yes, the good, the patient, the upright Joachim, so affected to 
discipline and the service, had been attacked by fits of rebel- 
lion, he even questioned the authority of the “ Gaffky scale 
the method employed in the laboratory — the lab, as one called 
it — to ascertain the degree of a patient’s infection. Whether 
only a few isolated bacilli, or a whole host of them, were found 
in the sputum analysed, determined his “ Gaffky number,” upon 
which everything depended. It infallibly reflected the chances of 
recovery with which the patient had to reckon; the number of 
months or years he must still remain could with ease be deduced 
from it, beginning with the six months that Hofrat Behrens called 
a “ week-end,” and ending with the “ life sentence,” which, taken 
literally, often enough meant very little indeed. Joachim, then, 
inveighed against the Gaffky scale, openly giving notice that he 
questioned its authority — or perhaps not quite openly, he did 
not say so to the authorities, but expressed his views to his cousin, 
and even in the dining-room. “ I’m fed up with it, I won’t be 
made a fool of any longer,” he said, the blood mounting to his 
bronzed face. “ Two weeks ago I had Gaffky two, a mere nothing, 
my prospects were the best. And to-day I am regularly infested — 
number nine, if you please. No talk of getting away. How the 
devil can a man know where he is? Up on the Schatzalp there is 
a man, a Greek peasant, an agent had him sent here from Arcadia, 
he has galloping consumption, there isn’t the dimmest hope for 
him. He may die any day — and yet they’ve never found even the 
ghost of a bacillus in his sputum. On the other hand, that Belgian 
captain that was discharged cured the other day, he was simply 
alive with them, Gaffky ten — and only the very tiniest cavity. 
The devil fly away with Gaffky! I’m done, I’m going home, if it 
kills me! ” Thus Joachim; and all his company were pained to see 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


346 

the gentle, serious youth so overwrought. Hans Castorp, when 
he heard the threat, could scarcely refrain from quoting a certain 
opinion he had heard expressed in French, by a third party. But 
he was silent. Was he to set himself up to his cousin for a model 
of patience, as did Frau Stohr, who actually admonished Joachim 
not to be blasphemous, but to humble his pride, and take pattern 
by her, Caroline Stohr, and the faithfulness and firm resolve which 
made her hold out up here, instead of returning to queen it in 
her Cannstadt home — to the end that when she did go back it 
would be as a sound and healthy wife to the arms of her impatient 
husband? No, such language was not for Hans Castorp — since 
Carnival he had had a bad conscience towards his cousin. Con- 
science told him Joachim must surely be aware of a certain mat- 
ter never referred to between them; must see in it something very 
like disloyalty and desertion — taken in connexion with a pair of 
brown eyes we know, an unwarranted tendency to laughter, 
and an orange-scented handkerchief, to whose influence Joachim 
was daily five times exposed, yet gave no ground to evil, but 
steadfastly fixed his eyes upon his plate. Yes, even the silent hos- 
tility which Joachim opposed to his cousin’s problems and specu- 
lations on the subject of time, Hans Castorp felt as an expression 
of the military decorum which reproached himself. While as for 
the valley, that snowed-in winter valley, when Hans Castorp, 
lying in his excellent chair, directed upon it his inquiring meta- 
physical gaze, it was silent too. Its peaked summits, its domes and 
crests and brown-green-reddish forests stood there silent, and 
mortal time flowed over and about them: sometimes luminous 
against a deep-blue sky, sometimes shrouded in vapours, some- 
times glowing rosy in the parting sun, sometimes glittering with 
hard, diamondlike brilliance in the magic moonlight — but always, 
always in snow, for six long, incredible, though scurrying months. 
All the guests declared they could not bear to look any more at 
the snow, they were sick of it; they had had their fill in the 
summer-time, and now these masses and heaps and slopes and 
cushions of snow, day in and day out, were more than they could 
stand, their spirits sank under the weight of it. And they took 
to coloured glasses, green, yellow, and red, to save their eyes, but 
still more their feelings. 

Mountain and valley, then, had been lying in deep snow for 
six months; nay, seven, for as we talk, time strides on — not only 
present time, taken up with the tale we are telling, but also past 
time, the bygone time of Hans Castorp and the companions of 
his destiny, up among the snows — time strides on, and brings 



CHANGES 


347 

changes with it. The prophecy which so glibly, so much to Herr 
Settembrini’s disgust, Hans Castorp had made on the eve of Car- 
nival, was in a fair way to be fulfilled. True, the solstice was not 
immediately at hand; yet Easter had passed over the valley, April 
advanced, with Whitsuntide in plain view; spring, with the melt- 
ing of the snows, would soon be here. Not all the snow would 
melt: on the heights to the south, and on the north in the rocky 
ravines of the Rhatikon, some would still remain, and through 
the summer months more was sure to fall, though it would scarcely 
lie. Yet the year revolved, and promised changes in its course; 
for since that night of Carnival when Hans Castorp had borrowed 
a lead-pencil of Frau Chauchat and afterwards returned it to her 
again, receiving in its stead a remembrance which he carried about 
with him in his pocket, since that night six weeks had passed, twice 
as many as made up the original term of Hans Castorp’s sojourn 
among those up here. 

Yes, six weeks had gone by, since that evening when Hans 
Castorp made the acquaintance of Clavdia Chauchat, and then 
returned so much later to his chamber than the duty-loving Joa- 
chim to his. Six weeks since the day after, bringing her depar- 
ture, her departure for the present, her temporary departure, for 
Daghestan, far away eastwards beyond the Caucasus. That her 
absence would be only temporary, that she intended to return, 
that she would or must return, at some date yet unspecified, of 
this Hans Castorp possessed direct and verbal assurances, given, 
not during that reported conversation in the French tongue, but 
in a later interval, wordless to our ears, during which we have 
elected to intermit the flow of our story along the stream of time, 
and let time flow on pure and free of any content whatever. Yes, 
such consolatory promises must have been vouchsafed our young 
man before he returned to number thirty-four; for he had had 
no word with Frau Chauchat on the day following, had not seen 
her indeed, save twice at some distance: once when the glass 
door slammed, and she had slipped for the last time to her place 
at table, clad in her blue cloth skirt and white sweater. The young 
man’s heart had been in his throat — only the sharp regard Fraulein 
Engelhart bent upon him had hindered him from burying his face 
in his hands. The other time had been at three o’clock, when he 
stood at a corridor window giving on the drive, a witness to her 
departure. 

It took place just as other such which Hans Castorp had wit- 
nessed during his stay up here. The sleigh or carriage halted be- 
fore the door, coachman and porter strapped fast the trunks, 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


348 

while friends gathered about to say good-bye to the departing 
one, who, cured or not, and whether for life or death, was off 
for the flat-land. Others besides friends gathered round as well, 
curious on-lookers, who cut the rest-cure for the sake of the di- 
version thus afforded. There would be a frock-coated official 
representing the management, perhaps even the physicians them- 
selves; then out came the gracious recipient of the attentions paid 
by this little world to a departing guest; generally with a beaming 
face, and a bearing which the excitement of the moment rendered 
far more animated than usual. To-day it was Frau Chauchat who 
issued from the portal, in company with her concave fellow- 
countryman, Herr Buligin, who was to accompany her for part of 
the way. She wore a long, shaggy, fur-trimmed travelling-cloak, 
and a large hat; she was all smiles, her arms were full of flowers, 
she too seemed possessed by the pleasurable excitement due to 
the prospect of change, if to nothing else, which was common to 
all those who left, whatever the circumstances of their leaving, 
and whether with the consent of the physicans, or in sheer despera- 
tion and at their own risk. Her cheeks were flushed, and she 
chattered without stopping, probably in Russian, while the rug 
was being arranged over her knees. People presented farewell 
bouquets, the great-aunt gave a box of Russian sweetmeats. Nu- 
merous other guests besides Frau Chauchat’s Russian companions 
and table-mates, stood there to see her off; among them Dr. Kro- 
kowski, showing his yellow teeth through his beard in a hearty 
smile, the schoolmistress, and the man from Mannheim, who gazed 
gloomily and furtively from a distance, and whose eyes found 
out Hans Castorp as he stood at his corridor window looking 
down upon the scene. Hofrat Behrens did not show himself — he 
had probably ere now taken private leave of the traveller. The 
horses started up, amid farewells and hand-wavings from the 
bystanders; and then, as Frau Chauchat sank smilingly back against 
the cushions of the sleigh, her eyes swept the fagade of the Berghof, 
and rested for the fraction of a second upon Hans Castorp’s face. 
In pallid haste he sought his loggia, thence to get a last glimpse 
of the sleigh as it went jingling down the drive toward the Dorf. 
Then he flung himself into his chair, and drew out his keepsake, 
his treasure, that consisted, this time, not of a few reddish-brown 
shavings, but a thin glass plate, which must be held toward the 
light to see anything on it. It was Clavdia’s x-ray portrait, show- 
ing not her face, but the delicate bony structure of the upper 
half of her body, and the organs of the thoracic cavity, surrounded 
by the pale, ghostlike envelope of flesh. 



CHANGES 


349 

How often had he looked at it, how often pressed it to his lips, 
in the time which since then had passed and brought its changes 
with it — such changes as, for instance, getting used to life up 
here without Clavdia Chauchat, getting used, that is, to her re- 
moteness in space! Yet after all, this adaptation took place more 
rapidly than one might have thought possible; for was not time 
up here at the Berghof arranged and organized to the end that 
one should get very rapidly used to things, even if the getting 
used consisted chiefly in getting used to not getting used- No 
longer might he expect that rattle and crash at the beginning of 
each of the five mighty Berghof meals. Somewhere else, in some 
far-off clime, Clavdia was letting doors slam behind her, some- 
where else she was expressing herself bv that act, as intimately 
bound up with her very being and its state of disease as time is 
bound up with the motion of bodies in space. Perhaps, indeed, 
her whole disease consisted in that, and in nothing else. — But 
though lost to view, she was none the less invisibly present to 
Hans Castorp; she was the genius of the place, whom, m an evil 
hour, an hour unattuned to any simple little ditty of the flat- 
land, yet one of passing sweetness, he had known and possessed, 
whose shadowy presentment he now wore next his months-long- 
labounng heart. 

At that hour his twitching lips had stammered and babbled, in 
his own and foreign tongues, for the most part without his own 
volition, the maddest things: pleas, prayers, proposals, frantic 
projects, to which all consent was denied, and rightly: as, that 
he might be permitted to accompany the genius beyond the Cau- 
casus, that he might follow after it; that he might await it at the 
next spot which its free and untrammelled spirit should select as 
a domicile; and thereafter never be parted from it more — these 
and other such rash, irresponsible utterances. No, all that our 
simple young adventurer carried away from that hour was his 
ghostly treasure trove, and the possibility, perhaps the proba- 
bility, of Frau Chauchat’s return for a fourth sojourn at the Berg- 
hof — sooner or later, as the state of her health might decree. 
But whether sooner or later — as she had said again at parting — 
Hans Castorp would by that time be ‘ long since far away.” It 
was a prophecy whose slighting note would have been harder 
to bear had he not known that prophecies are sometimes made 
in order that they may not come to pass — as a spell, indeed, against 
their fulfilment. Prophecies of this kind mock the future: saying 
to it how it should shape itself, to the end that it shall shame 
to be so shaped. The genius, in the course of the conversation 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


350 

we have repeated, and elsewhere, called Hans Castorp a “ joli 
bourgeois au petit endroit humide” which might in some sense 
be considered a translation of the Settembrinian epithet “ life’s 
delicate child and the question thus was, which constitutes 
of the mingled essence of his being would prove the stronger, the 
bourgeois or the other. The genius, though, had failed to take 
into consideration the fact that Hans Castorp too had come about 
a good deal in the world, and might easily return hither at a 
fitting moment — though, in all soberness, was he not sitting up 
here entirely in order that he might not need to return? Pre- 
cisely and explicitly that was with him, as with so many others, 
the very ground of his continued presence. 

One prophecy, indeed, made on that carnival evening, made in 
mockery, was fulfilled: Hans Castorp’s fever chart did display 
a sharply rising curve. He marked it down with a feeling of 
solemnity. Thereafter it fell a trifle, and then ran on, unchanged 
save for slight undulations, well above its accustomed level. It 
was fever, the degree and persistency of which, according to the 
Hofrat, was out of all proportion to the condition of his lung. 
“ H’m, young fellow me lad, you’re more infected than one would 
take you for,” he said. “ We’ll have to come on to the hypos. 
They’ll serve your turn, or I’m a Dutchman. In three or four 
months you ought to be as fit as a fiddle.” Thus it came about that 
Hans Castorp had to produce himself, twice in the week, Monday 
and Saturday after the morning exercise, down in the “lab,” 
where he was given his injections. 

These were given by either physician indifferently; but the 
Hofrat performed the operation like a virtuoso, with a fine sweep, 
squeezing the little syringe at the very moment he pressed the 
point home. And he cared not a doit where he thrust his needle, 
so that the pain was often acute, and the spot hard and inflamed 
long afterwards. The effect of the inoculations on the entire or- 
ganism was very noticeable, the nervous system reacted as after 
hard muscular exertion; and their strength was displayed in the 
heightened fever which was their immediate result. The Hofrat 
had said they would have this effect, and so it fell out. The whole 
affair, each time, took but a second; one after another, the row 
of patients received their dosage, in thigh or arm, and turned 
away. But once or twice, when the Hofrat was in a more lively 
mood, not depressed by the tobacco he had smoked, Hans Castorp 
came to speech with him, and conducted the brief conversation 
somewhat as follows: 

“ I still remember the coffee and the pleasant talk we had last 



CHANGES 


351 

autumn, Herr Hofrat,” he would say. “ Only yesterday, or per- 
haps the day before, was it, I was reminding my cousin of how 
we happened to — ” 

“ Gaffky seven,” said the Hofrat. “ Last examination. The chap 
simply can’t part with his bacilli. And yet he keeps at me worse 
than ever, to let him get away so he can wear a sword tied round 
his middle. What a child it is! Makes me a scene over a month 
or so of time, as though it were aeons passing over our heads. 
Means to leave, whether or no — does he say the same to you? 
You ought to give him a pretty straight talking-to. Take it from 
me, you’ll have him hopping the twig if he is too previous about 
going down and breathing the nice damp air into his weak spot. 
A sword-swallower like that doesn’t necessarily possess so much 
grey matter; but you, as the steady civilian, you ought to see to 
it he doesn’t make an ass of himself.” 

“ I do talk to him, Herr Hofrat,” Hans Castorp responded, 
taking the reins again into his hands. “ I do, often, when he begins 
to kick against the pricks — and I think he will listen to reason. 
But the examples he has before his eyes are all the wrong kind. He 
is always seeing people going off on their own, without authority 
from you; it looks mighty gay, as though they were really leaving 
for good, and that is a temptation to all but the strongest charac- 
ters. For instance, lately — who was it went off? A lady, from the 
‘ good ’ Russian table, that Frau Chauchat. She’s gone to Daghestan, 
they say. Well, Daghestan — I don’t know the climate, it is 
probably better, when all is said and done, than being right down 
on the water. But after all, it is the flat-land, according to our 
ideas up here — though for aught I know it may be mountainous, 
geographically speaking; I am not much up on the subject. But 
how can a person who isn’t sound live out there, where all the 
proper ideas are totally lacking, and nobody has a notion of the 
regimen, the rest-cure, and measuring, and all that? Anyhow, she 
will be coming back, she told me so herself — happened to. How 
did we come to speak of her? — Yes, Herr Hofrat, I remember as 
thought it was yesterday, how we met you in the garden, or, rather, 
you met us, for we were sitting on a bench — I could show you 
the very bench, to-day, that we were sitting on — we were sitting 
and smoking. Or, rather, I was smoking, for my cousin doesn’t 
smoke, oddly enough. You were smoking too, and we exchanged 
our brands, I recall. Your Brazil I found excellent; but I suspect 
one has to go about them a little gingerly, or something may 
happen as it happened to you that time with the two little im- 
ported — when your bosom swelled with pride, and you nearly 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


352 

toddled off, you know. I may joke about it, since it turned out all 
right. I’ve ordered another couple of hundred of my Maria 
lately. I’m very dependent on her, she suits me in every respect. 
But the carriage and customs make the cost rather mount up — 
so if you have anything good to suggest, Herr Hofrat, Fm ready 
to have a go at the domestic product — I see some attractive weeds 
in the windows. Yes, we were privileged to look at your paintings, 
I remember the whole thing so well. And I was perfectly amazed 
at your oil technique, I’d never venture anything like it. You 
showed us the portrait you made of Frau Chauchat, simply 
first-class treatment of the skin — I must say I was very much 
struck by it. At that time I was not personally acquainted with 
the sitter, only by sight. But just before she went off, I got to 
know her.” 

“ You don’t say! ” answered the Hofrat — a little as he had that 
time when Hans Castorp told him, shortly before the first examina- 
tion, that he had fever. He said no more. 

“ Yes,” went on the youth, “ I made her acquaintance — a thing 
that isn’t so easy, hereabouts, you know. But Frau Chauchat and 
I, we managed, at the eleventh hour, we had some conversation — 
Ff — f ! ” went Hans Castorp, and drew his breath sharply through 
his teeth. The needle had gone in. “ That was certainly a very im- 
portant nerve you happened to hit on, Herr Hofrat,” he said. 
“ I do assure you, it hurt like the devil. Thanks, a little massage 
does it good. . . . Yes, we came a little closer to each other, in 
conversation.” 

“ Ah 5 Well? ” the Hofrat said. His manner was as one expect- 
ing from his own experience a very favouring reply, and expressing 
his agreement in anticipation by the way he puts the question. 

“ I’m afraid my French was rather lame, Hans Castorp an- 
swered evasively. “ I haven’t had much occasion to use it. But the 
words somehow come into one’s mind when one needs them — so 
we understood each other tolerably well.” 

“ I believe you,” said the Hofrat. “ Well? ” he repeated his in- 
quisition; and even added, of his own motion: “ Pretty nice, 
what ” 

Hans Castorp stood, legs and elbows extended, his face turned 
up, buttoning his shirt-collar. 

“ It’s the old story,” he said. “ At a place like this, two people, 
or two families, can live weeks on end under one roof, without 
speaking. But some day they get acquainted, and take to each 
other, only to find that one of the parties is on the point of leav- 
ing. Regrettable incidents like that happen, I suppose. In such 



CHANGES 353 

cases, one feels like keeping in touch by post, at least. But Frau 
Chauchat — ” 

“ Tut, she won’t, won’t she? ” the Hofrat laughed. 

“ No, she wouldn’t hear of it. Does she write to you, now and 
again, from where she is staying? ” 

“ Lord bless you! ” Behrens answered, “ she’d never think of 
it. In the first place, she’s too lazy, and in the second — how could 
she? I can’t read Russian, though I can jabber it, after a fashion, 
when I have to, but I can’t read a word — nor you either, I 
should suppose. And the puss can purr fast enough in French or in 
book German, but writing — it would door her altogether. Think 
of the spelling! No, my poor young friend, we’ll have to console 
each other. She always comes back again, sooner or later. Different 
people take it differently — it’s a question of procedure, or of 
temperament. One goes off and keeps coming back, another stops 
long enough that he doesn’t need to come back. Just put it to 
your cousin that if he goes off now r , you’re likely to be still here 
to see him return in state.” 

“ But Herr Hofrat, how long do you mean that I — ? ” 

“ That you? You mean that he, don’t you? That he won’t stop 
as long a time below as he has been up here, that is what I mean, 
and so I tell you. That’s my humble opinion, and I lay it on you 
to tell him so from me, if you will be so kind as to undertake the 
commission.” 

Such, more or less, would be the trend of their conversation, 
artfully conducted by Hans Castorp, who, however, reaped noth- 
ing or less than nothing for his pains. How long one must re- 
main in order to see the return of a person departed before her 
time — on that point the result was equivocal; while as for direct 
news of the departed fair one, he got simply none at all. No, he 
would have no news of her, so long as they were separated by 
the mystery of time and space. She would never write, and no 
opportunity would be afforded him to do so. And when he 
came to think of it, how should it be otherwise? Was it not 
very bourgeois, even pedantic, of him, to imagine they ought to 
write, when he himself had been of opinion that it was neither 
necessary nor desirable for them to speak? Had he even spoken 
with her, that carnival evening — anything that might be called 
speaking, and not rather the utterance of a dream, couched in a 
foreign tongue, and very little “ civilized ” in its drift? Why 
should he write to her, on letter-paper or on postcards, setting 
down for her edification, as he did for that of his people at home, 
the fluctuations of his curve? Clavdia had been right in feeling 


THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN 


354 

herself dispensed from writing by virtue of the freedom her ill- 
ness gave her. Speaking and writing were of course the first con- 
cern of a humanistic and republican spirit; they were the proper 
affair of Brunetto Latini, the same who wrote the book about 
the virtues and the vices, and taught the Florentines the art of 
language and how to guide their state according to the rules of 
politics. 

And here Hans Castorp was reminded of Ludovico Settem- 
brini, and flushed, as once he had when the Italian entered his 
sick-room and turned on the light. Hans Castorp might have 
applied to him with his metaphysical puzzles, if only by way of 
challenge or in a carping spirit, without any serious expectation 
of an answer from the humanist, whose concerns and interests, 
of course, were all of this earth. But since the carnival gaieties, 
and Settembrini’s impassioned exit from the music-room, there 
had been a coolness between them, due on Hans Castorp’s side 
to a bad conscience, on the other’s to the deep wound dealt his 
pedagogic pride. They avoided each other, and for weeks ex- 
changed not a single word. In the eyes of one whose view it 
was that all moral sanctions resided in the reason and the virtue, 
Hans Castorp must have ceased to be “a delicate child of life 
Herr Settembrini must by now have given him up for lost. The 
youth hardened his heart, he scowled and stuck out his lips when 
they met, and the Italian’s darkly ardent gaze rested upon him 
in silent reproach. But his resentment dissolved on the instant, 
the first time Herr Settembrini spoke to him, which, as we have 
said, happened after weeks of silence. Even so, it was in passing, 
and in the form of a classical allusion, for the understanding of 
which some training in occidental culture was required. They 
met, after dinner, in the glass door — that door which nowadays 
was never guilty of banging. Settembrini overtook the young 
man, and in the act to pass him, said: “Well, Engineer, and how 
have you enjoyed the pomegranate? ” 

Hans Castorp smiled, overjoyed, but in confusion. He answered: 
“ I don’t quite understand, Herr Settembrini. Did we have any 
pomegranates? I don’t recall having tasted — oh, yes, once in my 
life I had pomegranate juice and soda; it was too sweet.” 

The Italian, already in front of him, turned his head to say: 
“ Gods and mortals have been known to visit the nether world 
and find their way back again. But in that kingdom they know 
that he who tastes even once of its fruits belongs to them.” 

He passed on, in his everlasting check trousers, and left Hans 
Castorp behind, presumably, and to a certain extent actually, 


CHANGES 


355 

staggered by so much allusiveness; though he was stirred to irri- 
tation at its being taken for granted, and muttered through his 
teeth after the departing back: “ Carducci-Latini-humani-spagheti 
— get along, do, and leave me in peace! ” 

Yet he w